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The German Works by Lawrence A. McLouth, Professor of German in New 

York University, and the Latin by Henry Preble, New York City, 

and Professor George W. Gilmore, Meadville, Pennsylvania. 










91 and 93 Fifth Avenue, New York. 


, Z- 


THIS volume presents a selection from the contents of the 
eight volumes in which the works of Huldreich Zwingli, the 
Reformer of German Switzerland, are preserved in the only 
edition now accessible, namely, that published in Zurich between 
1828 and 1842, with a supplement in 1861. Egli and Finsler's 
edition in the Corpus Reformatorum is announced but will not 
be finished for at least ten years. The selection has been made 
purposely from those papers which had never been translated 
at least not in their entirety into modern German or English. 
These papers have been arranged in chronological order, and 
when read consecutively present a documentary history of several 
phases of the Zurich Reformation. They have been utilized 
in my biography of Zwingli, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, 
New York city, in the series of " Heroes of the Reformation," 
and are here printed in full by the courtesy of the publishers of 
the series. As appears, the translations from the Latin were 
made by Mr. Henry Preble, of this city, and by Prof. George 
W. Gilmore, and those from the Zurich German by Mr. Law- 
rence A. McLouth, Professor of German in the New York 
University. They will be found accurate and spirited, and I am 
very proud to be able to put into the hands of the English 
reader for the first time matter of so interesting and important a 
character. My highest ambition is that Huldreich Zwingli may 
win in this way a large number of friends. My own part in this new 
volume is a very modest one. I have made the selections, sup- 
plied some introductory matter, and a few notes. Those who 
would like to read more of the writings of Zwingli I refer to 



my biography alluded to above, in which will be found Pro- 
fessor McLouth's translation in full of the sermon upon fasting, 
preached in the spring of 1522, which was the first published 
reformation document in Switzerland; and the Confession of 
Faith presented by Zwingli at the Diet of Augsburg, 1530, 
translated by Rev. Henry E. Jacobs, D. D., LL. D., Professor 
in the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa. ; re- 
printed by permission, from Dr. Jacobs' edition of the Book of 
Concord, Philadelphia, the best edition of that important collec- 
tion and its accompanying documents. Also, I would say that 
in. 1899, in Collegeville, Pa., there appeared a translation of 
Zwingli's " Christian Education of Youth," by Professor Reichen- 
bach, of Ursinus College, Philadelphia. I am not aware that 
there are any other accessible English translations of Zwingli's 
prose writings, but in my biography appear in English many 
extracts from Zwingli's correspondence and from documents 
bearing upon him. 

NEW YORK CITY, April 8, 


HULDREICH ZWINGLI was born in the outskirts of the village of 
Wildhaus, forty miles east by south of Zurich, in Switzerland, on 
the first of January, 1484. His family on both sides were peas- 
ants, but persons of more or less prominence and of high char- 
acter. His father was the village magistrate and his father's 
brother the village priest. This uncle was in 1487 transferred to 
a higher position at Wesen, upon the Lake of Walenstadt, twelve 
miles to the southwest of Wildhaus, and took Zwingli with him. 
So there the child received his first book learning, and then he 
was sent by his uncle, who was providentially a friend of the New 
Learning, to Bern, Vienna and Basel for school and university 
training. In 1506 Zwingli, who had just taken the degree of 
Master of Arts at the University of Basel, became the priest of 
the parish of Glarus, about seven miles south of Wesen. There 
he remained ten years, and would have stayed much longer, 
probably, had it not been that his very vigorous attacks upon the 
mercenary military service of the Swiss, which service he recog- 
nized as a disgrace to his country and a sure and swift means of 
their moral ruin, awakened so much opposition on the part of the 
principal families in the Canton, who were interested in hiring 
out these mercenaries, that he was compelled to leave. He next 
appears as preacher in the famous monastery of Einsiedeln, in 
which is the Chapel of Meinrad, containing the wonder-working 
wooden image of the Virgin and Child. Thousands of pilgrims 
have every year for a millennium visited this sacred spot, and 
among them have been the most distinguished in the Church. 
When Zwingli went there he was already a fine scholar, an admired 



preacher and a recognized patriot. He inspired high and low 
with respect, and easily made the acquaintance of the cardinals 
and bishops and learned men who came in a continuous stream 
to the shrine. He also read diligently the books he found in the 
remarkably rich library of the monastery. Thus was he prepared 
for the prominent part he was destined to play. After two years 
he was called to the principal church of Zurich, and there he 
maintained himself as preacher and reformer and author for the 
rest of his life. 

When he began his preaching in Zurich he had apparently no 
profound spiritual conceptions. He was an extremely pleasant, 
witty and agreeable man, and had a host of friends, for whose 
advantage he was ready at any time to do his best, so that he 
fastened them to himself as with hooks of steel. He was moreover 
a friend of the New Learning and felt the breath of the new era. 
He had been taught by Wyttenbach and Erasmus that the tradi- 
tional church theology had very small basis in the Bible ; had 
also come to the conclusion that the Bible was the great source 
of theology, so had been reading attentively the New Testament 
in the original Greek, and had even begun the study of Hebrew in 
order that he might get at the meaning of the Old Testament at 
first hand. In his zeal to drink in the water of life from the 
fountain he even had gone so far as to commit to memory the 
Epistles of St. Paul in Greek. From the beginning of his Zurich 
ministry he showed himself well acquainted with the text of Scrip- 
ture, and able to quote it at pleasure. He began his preaching 
in Zurich with a continuous exposition of the Gospel of Matthew, 
and went on to expound other New Testament books in the same 
way. Living thus in the hearing of the divine oracles, thinking 
much upon their utterances, he was one of the first upon whom 
the vision of the purer, more unshackled, less hide-bound church 
fell. And without passing through any profound spiritual 
experience, entering rather as a devout scholar than as a religious 
enthusiast into the temple of God, he arrived at those concep- 


tions of the truth which bear the name of Protestant. It was his 
exposure of the unbiblical character of much of the teachings 
and ceremonies of the Roman Church which roused the people 
of Zurich into open revolt against that church, and it was the 
distressing rumor of the probable defection of the Zurich people 
which was the occasion of the visit of the delegation from the 
Bishop of Constance, which is described in the first paper in this 
volume. % 

In this volume Zwingli is exhibited in various relations as 
leader in reform and the defense of reform. Thus the earnest 
petition (1522) which Zwingli wrote, to allow priests to marry, 
showed how enforced celibacy hindered holy living. The First 
Disputation (1523) showed the popularity of the proposed 
reforms. The Marriage Ordinance (1525) is a contribution 
to the history of the times. The reply to the Baptist arguments 
and exposure of their social disorders (1527), for the Baptists 
were the disturbers of the standing order in Zurich and fomenters 
of no one end of trouble for the Reformers there and in Ger- 
many, and the treatment they received, showed how far the 
Reformers were from being ready to grant to others the freedom 
of speech they exercised themselves. Still the Baptists were 
attacked on grounds of state polity rather than religiously. 

The busy life of Zwingli, on whom fell the burden of directing 
the churches which received his leadership, was cut short by a 
violent death. He was involved in the struggle between the 
Forest cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern, Zug) up 
amid the mountains of Northern Switzerland, which were intensely 
Old Church, and the Reformed cantons (chiefly Zurich and 
Bern) . The former would not grant freedom to gospel pi caching, 
so the latter in punishment cut them off from necessary supplies, 
as they could do, since they commanded the commerce of the 
country. This brought matters to a crisis, and the opposing 
cantons met at Cappel, only 10 miles south of Zurich, October 
n, 1531. Zwingli, as chief city pastor, went to the field as a 


non-combatant, although armed for defense, and perished the 
same day. He was a good man, a valiant fighter for the truth 
as he conceived it, and the Reformed churches, as contrasted 
with the Lutheran churches, look to him as one of their great 







1522 25 




* This is the literal rendering of the title of the Treatise, but as the Baptists are meant I 
called them so on p. 123. Subsequent reflection led me to think it would have been better to 
have kept the original form, but the book being printed from type I was not able to restore 
the correct title in this edition.; 



How the Reverend Lord Bishop of Constance, through his 
delegates, the suffragan Melchior [Wattli], John Wanner (who, 
however, I know took part in the affair against his will), and 
Nicholas] Brendlin, dealt with Huldreich Zwingli, preacher at 
Zurich, before the Board of Ecclesiastics and the Senate f on the 
7th, 8th and pth days of April. 


On the seventh day of April the before mentioned Fathers, 
came to our city pretty early, and I, knowing that they were 
coming, was trying to discover what their design was, and yet 
could not until late at night, when our beloved deacon, Henry 
Lutius, came and gave me warning that the clerk, as they call 
him, was getting together the whole body of priests for a meeting 

* Zwingli's Works, ed. Schuler u. Schulthess, iii., 7-16. Translated from 
the original Latin by Mr. Henry Preble, New York city. 

1 1. e., City Council, hence the members in it are called councillors, but the 
Latin form Zwingli used has been allowed to stand. This body was in two 
parts, the Small Council, which contained only 50 members, and only half of 
these were on duty at any one time, and the Great Council, also called the 
Council of the Two Hundred, which included the Small Council. The Great 
Council was the deciding body on all legislative matters of importance, the 
Small was the exeutive committee, and both were representative bodies. The 
chief officer was the burgomaster, here called the President of the Senate. 
See my biography of Zwingli, pp. 4244. 



early next morning at the usual place of assembly of the canons. 
I regarded it as a happy omen that the thing had been thus neatly 
set on foot by a courier both lame and without grace, and began 
to consider in my mind how they were likely to begin their job. 
At length I understood, as I thought, and when day dawned and 
we had come together the suffragan began in the fashion that will 
follow when I come to describe how the matter was carried on 
before the Senate. His whole speech was violent and full of 
rage and arrogance, though he took pains to hide the fact that 
he had any quarrel with me. For he avoided mentioning my 
name as scrupulously as if it were sacred, though meanwhile there 
was nothing that he didn't say against me. When the tragedian 
had finished shrieking out his part, I stepped forward, feeling 
Chat it was unbecoming and disgraceful to allow a speech which 
might do so much damage to go unrebutted, especially as I saw 
from their sighs and their pale and silent faces that some of the 
feebler priests who had recently been won for Christ had been 
troubled by the tirade. Therefore I made answer upon the spur 
of the moment to the words of the suffragan, with what spirit or 
feeling the good men who heard me may judge. The general 
;gist of what I said, however, you shall hear when we come to the 
proceedings before the Senate. The delegates abandoned this 
iwing as routed and put to flight, and hurried quickly to another, 
to the Senate, namely, where, as I have learned from Senators, 
the same harangue was delivered and my name was avoided in the 
same way, and the Senate was persuaded not to have me sum- 
moned. For they said they had no concern whatever with me. 
After this the opinions varied for some time, but finally they 
decided that the Commons (that is, two hundred men, called 
-the Greater Senate), should meet in full assembly on the follow- 
ing day, and that the bishops^ of the city, of whom there are three 

*Zwingli uses this term of the people's priests or preachers of the three 
parish churches in Zurich, viz., the Great Minster, Minster of our Lady, 
and St. Peter's. He explains it below. 


of us, should be warned not to be present. For nothing was 
going to be said in reply to our friends, no one could contradict 
so sound a speech, and so on. When I discovered this, I devoted 
all my energy to getting us admitted to the meeting of the Senate 
to be held on the following day. For a long time I turned every 
stone in vain, for the chief men of the Senate said it could not 
be done, inasmuch as the Senate had voted otherwise. Then I 
began to cease my efforts and to plead with sighs to him who 
heareth the groans of those in bondage not to abandon the truth, 
but to come to the defense of his gospel, which he had willed to 
have us preach. At length on the ninth the citizens assembled, 
and loudly vented their indignation at their bishops not being 
admitted, but they of the Senate which from its number is called 
the Less resisted because they had voted otherwise previously. 
The Greater Senate, however, compelled them against their will 
to put the matter to vote, and it was decided that their bishops 
should be present and hear everything, and if need be make 
answer. Thus, not, as Livy says, did the greater part prevail 
over the better ; for here both the greater and the better part 
prevailed. And this I have allowed myself to write, not for the 
sake of laying any blame upon the Lesser Senate, but to show 
what plotting and underhand action can accomplish. For what 
else were the delegates of the Bishop of Constance after but to 
say without witnesses whatever came into their mouths before 
the simple minded commons? Thanks be to God. For when the 
delegates were brought into the Senate, we bishops of Zurich were 
also admitted, Henry Engelhard, LL.D., of the nunnery, Rudolph 
Roschlin, bishop of St. Peter's, and I, Huldreich Zwingli. * Then 

* Henry Engelhard had been people's priest at the cathedral of Our Lady 
since 1496. He had also been a canon of the Great Minster, but in 1521 
resigned so that Zwingli might be appointed. This act of disinterestedness shows 
what a fine character he was. He remained ever one of Zwingli's friends. 
He died in 1551, a very old man. Rudolph RSschlin, people's priest at St. 
Peter's, was very slow in accepting the Reformation, was at the time of this 
episcopal visit an old man, and a few weeks after it resigned his place and was 
succeeded by Zwingli's bosom friend, Leo Jud. 


when they had been given permission to speak, and the suffragan 
had extended to the assembly greeting and blessing from his Most 
Illustrious Leader and Bishop (for this must now at least be ad- 
mitted), he began with that wonderfully sweet voice of his, than 
which I have scarcely ever heard one sweeter in speech. Indeed, 
if his heart and brain were as good, you might say that he could ex- 
cel Orpheus and Apollo in sweetness, Demosthenes and the Gracchi 
in persuasive power. I should like to set down his speech in its 
entirety, but I cannot, partly because he spoke in an involved 
and jumbled together style, without order, and partly because so 
long a speech could not, I think, be remembered even by a 
Porcius Latro. But since I had my note-book at hand and took 
down the main headings, in order to be able to meet and answer 
them more fitly, I will fiist put down these headings and then 
subjoin what I said in reply to each of them. 

With the manner of a consummate tragedian he said that 
(i) certain persons were teaching new, obnoxious and seditious 
doctrines (wieder wa'rtig und aufriihrig lehren, in German), to 
wit: that (2) no human prescriptions and no ceremonials ought 
to be regarded. If this doctrine prevailed, it would come to pass 
that not only the laws of the state but even the Christian faith 
would be done away with, although (3) ceremonies were a sort 
of manuductio or " leading by the hand " to the virtues (for he 
was pleased to use this word manuductio even before people who 
did not understand Latin, because, no doubt, the German term 
eine einleitung, " an introduction," did not seem to him strong 
enough (or, if you will, fine enough). Ceremonials were in fact, 
he said, a source of virtue (ein ursprung), though he afterwards 
had the boldness to deny before all those witnesses that he used 
the word ; (4) they were also teaching that Lent ought not to be 
kept, for certain persons in this city had ventured to withdraw 
from other Christians and from the Christian Church, though 
this statement also he afterwards denied with as much shameless- 
ness as stubbornness. My lord Brendlin bore witness that he 


had not used that expression, though the whole Senate still bears 
witness that he used it. So persistently do these people fancy 
that they are free to say off-hand whatever they please and to 
deny off-hand what they have said, almost at the moment of 
saying it. He said (5) that they had eaten meat in Lent to the 
scandal of the whole republic of Christ; though (6) this was 
evidently not permitted by the gospels, they yet ventured to 
declare that they might do it in accordance with the writings of 
the Evangelists and Apostles; they had violated (7) the decrees 
of the Holy Fathers and the councils, and (8) a most ancient 
custom which (9) we never could have kept so long if it had not 
emanated from the Holy Spirit. For Gamaliel in the Acts of the 
Apostles had said : " Let them alone ; for if this work is of God," 
etc. Then he urged the Senate (to) to remain with and in the 
Church, for outside of it no one had salvation. For (n) the 
things which were being taught so wrongheadedly were being 
taught without grounds. And not having satisfied himself in what 
he had said before about ceremonials, he fell (12) to speaking of 
them again, saying that they were the only means by which the 
humbler Christians were brought to the recognition of salvation, 
and that it belonged to the duties of the people's priests (for 
that is the way bishops and preachers are named now-a-days by 
those counterfeit bishops, to keep their name sacred) to teach 
the simple-minded populace that there were certain symbols 
which denoted certain things, and that it was their function to 
explain and set forth the meaning and value thereof. At length, 
after the above turn in his speech, he began to discourse (13) 
upon grounds of offence, not unlearnedly, I confess, only I wish 
that he had cited as happily the things against himself as those for 
him. He added that Christ enjoined with as much emphasis as 
he put upon any precept, that offences be avoided, for he added 
that most clear mark of indignation, " Woe !" " Woe to the 
world from offences !" Going back also to Paul, from whose 
epistles he had quoted many things before he discoursed upon 


"Woe," he called to witness (14) that in order not to offend 
the Jews he had suffered Timothy to be circumcised. And what 
he ought to have said among his first remarks about seditious 
teachings, he talked on after everything else, saying (15) that 
no one ought to trust his own ideas ; for that even Paul had been 
unwilling to depend upon his own notions, and had gone to 
Jerusalem to compare his gospel with the Apostles, etc. And 
after a very beautiful peroration to his remarks he rose, and was 
on the point of going away with his allies, when I addressed 
them in the following terms : 

" My Lord suffragan " (and in this I made an indiscreet and 
ignorant enough blunder; for they tell me I should have said 
" most merciful Lord," but being unskilled in polished ways I 
take hold like a clophopper) " and fellow-ecclesiastics," I said 
" wait, I pray, until I make explanation in my own behalf." For 
that my fellow-bishops allowed me to do. To this he said : "It has 
not been enjoined upon us to engage in discussion with any one." 
"And I," said I, " have no intention of entering into discussion, 
but what I have thus far been teaching these excellent citizens I 
would willingly and gladly set forth to you who are both learned 
men and delegates sent here, so to speak, with full powers ; that 
the greater faith may be had in my teachings if you shall have 
voted them right, and if not, that the opposite may take place." 
" We have said nothing," said he, " in opposition to you, and 
therefore there is no need for you to make explanation." But I 
said : " Though you have refrained from mentioning my name, 
yet all the force and power of your words were aimed and hurled 
at me. For, as a matter of fact, they were dealing with me in 
the style of the old gladitorial combats between Mirmillons and 
Gauls, wherein the Mirmillon cried : " It is not you I am aiming 
at, Gaul, it is the fish I am aiming at." So my name was kept 
out of sight and not mentioned, in order that most serious 
charges, if it please the gods, might be developed against me, 
whose name is Zwingli. While we were thus contending together, 


M. Roest, President of the Senate, tried by entreaty to persuade 
the men of Constance to listen, to which entreaty the suffragan 
replied that he knew with whom he should have to deal if he 
listened. Huldreich Zwingli was too violent and choleric to make 
any duly and moderately carried on discussion possible with him. 
I answered : " What wrong have I ever done you? And what 
kind of a way of doing is this, to worry so harshly and bitterly a 
guiltless man who has done his duty by Christianity, and to refuse 
to hear any explanation? I have always felt myself bound to 
hope, unless I am mistaken (but perhaps I am mistaken), that if 
any one ever came forward to contradict the truth and teachings 
of the gospel, it would come to pass that the High Prelate of 
Constance would rush to its aid before all others and hear- the 
whole case, and this by your help especially, whom he has event 
now employed as delegates because of your preeminent learning^ 
For what would ye do if I wanted to go to him without your 
knowledge? If I feared to meet you? If I refused to have 
your opinion in the matter? Now, when I do nothing of the 
kind, but ask your presence in order to give an account of my 
faith and teachings, how have you the face to venture to refuse it? 
It could not have failed to rouse suspicion if I had allowed you 
to go away, even though you desired it ; now when I appeal of 
my own accord to your judgment and justice, do you dare to 
abandon me?" Then said they :. " Our Reverend Master did not 
wish us to enter into a dispute with any one, so it is impossible 
for us to hear you. If you wish to take any point of doctrine to 
the bishop you are free to do so ; if you need anything apprize 
him of it." But I said : " I beg of you if you are not willing 
from any other consideration to vouchsafe me this favour, yet 
grant me this wish for the sake of our common faith, our common 
baptism, and for the sake of Christ, the giver of life and salvation, 
and if you may not listen as delegates, you still may as Chris- 
tians." When I had thus adjured them the citizens began to 
murmur in their indignation, so that at last, driven by the urgent 


request of the president and the unworthiness of their course, 
they went back to their seats. Thereupon I began to speak in 
defence of the teachings of Christ to the best of my ability, and 
made answer to their main heads in about this fashion : 
. i. My lord suffragan has stated that certain persons were 
teaching seditious and obnoxious doctrines, but I cannot be per- 
suaded that he means this to be taken of me, who for nearly four 
years now have been preaching the gospel of Christ and the 
teachings of the Apostles with so much energy. And yet it 
savors somewhat of this, inasmuch as he made the statement 
before the Senate. For what concern were it of mine if such 
teachings were preached elsewhere, provided they were not 
preached at Zurich? Therefore, since it is not likely that the 
suffragan spoke of the affairs of outsiders, it is clear that his 
remarks were aimed at me. However much they disguise it, it 
is evident that here is the David to whom this Nathan imputed 
the wrong. But as to the gospel, it is no wonder that in one 
place or another there should be differences between those who 
cling doggedly to evrdlMara, that is, human prescriptions, and 
those who are unfriendly to the same. For Christ prophesied 
most clearly that this would come to pass, saying : " I came 
not to send peace on earth, but a sword. For I am come to set 
a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against 
her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 
and it shall come to pass that a man's foes shall be they of his 
own household." Yet there was no need of this answer either. 
For Zurich more than any other of the Swiss cantons is in peace 
and quiet, and this all good citizens put down to the credit of 
the gospel. 

2. As to the reproach, in the next place, that it is taught that 
no human prescriptions nor ceremonials ought to be kept, I will 
acknowledge frankly that I desire to see a fair portion of the 
ceremonials and prescriptions done away with, because the things 
prescribed are in great part such as also Peter in the Acts says 


can not be endured. Nor am I going to listen to those who say 
that Peter spoke of the old ceremonials and prescriptions. Be 
it understood, though, that if I should grant them this it is still 
clear that Peter was of opinion that Christians ought to be free 
from burdens and bitterness of the kind. But if Peter depre- 
cated that old yoke so greatly, which was yet much lighter than 
that which we bear to-day, what think ye he would have done if 
there had been question of a heavier one? Now that the old 
yoke would have been more endurable to Christians than ours 
(to say nothing for the nonce of the decrees of the pontiffs, 
which are much more numerous and onerous than the commands 
of Moses,) is shown well enough by the excessive observation of 
fasts, the careful selection of foods, and the enforced leisure of 
feast days. For how trifling will the fasts of the Jews become 
which they ordained at times for those in great sorrow, if you 
compare them with these stated forty days' fasts of ours, institu- 
tions fit for serfs, and those that are ordained in a sort of unbroken 
and continuous row in honour of the saints ! Furthermore, if 
you compare the selection of foods, its observation is more oner- 
ous among the Christians than among the Jews. They abstained 
from certain kinds of food, but not at a fixed period, with the 
exception of the Passover. We abstain from numerous kinds and 
for long seasons. And in the enforced leisure of feast days we 
surpass the Jews very greatly. But if Peter did not want the 
Christians worried by the lighter yoke much less would he 
approve the heavier. I denied, however, that I was of opinion 
that no human prescriptions at all ought to be kept or enacted. 
For who would not joyfully accept what was decided by the 
concurrent opinion of all Christians? But on the other hand, 
the decrees of certain most unholy spirits, who after the manner 
of the Pharisees would lay unbearable burdens upon the necks of 
men and not touch themselves even with the tip of their fingers, 
were an abomination. And as to his having said, with a view to 
rouse the Senate to anger, that we should fail to obey the laws of 


the state, I said this was not the spirit of Christ or of the Apos- 
tles. For Christ had said : " Render unto Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's," etc., and had paid the tribute or tax. Nay, at his 
birth his parents reported his name according to the proclamation 
of Caesar ; while the Apostles taught " Render unto all their due, 
tribute to whom tribute is due, etc., and obey them who are set 
in authority over you, and not only the good," etc. Hence it 
was evident that he had spoken more vigorously than truly, as 
would be made still clearer by an illustration. For all the peo- 
ples of the whole world had obeyed the laws most rigorously, 
even before the man Christ was born. Nay, Christianity was the 
most powerful instrument for the preservation of justice in general, 
and the faith of Christ could not be done away with even if all 
ceremonials were done away with altogether. Nay, ceremonials 
achieved nothing else than the cheating of Christ and his faithful 
followers and doing away with the teachings of the Spirit, calling 
men away from the unseen to the material things of this world, 
but this could not be described and explained in short compass. 

3. Then I showed that the simple-minded people could be led 
to the recognition of the truth by other means than ceremonials, 
to wit, by those by which Christ and the Apostles had led them 
without any ceremonials as far as I had been able to learn through 
the sacred writings, and that there was no danger that the people 
were not capable of receiving the gospel, which he who believes 
can understand. They can believe, therefore they can also 
understand. Whatever takes place here is done by the inspira- 
tion of God, not by the reasoning of man, as Christ also thanked 
the Father, saying : " I thank thee, O, Father, etc., because thou 
hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed 
good in thy sight." And Paul (i Cor. i) says that " God hath 
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise." 

4. I had nowhere taught that Lent ought not to be kept, though 
I could wish that it were not prescribed so imperiously, but were 


left free to the individual. But he for whom Lent was not enough 
might fast for the rest of the year also; there would not be 
wanting men to advise fasting, and I presaged that they would 
be likely to effect more than those who thought that at the frown 
of their power and the threat of excommunication, everything 
would fall to pieces with a crash as at the frown of Jove. 

5. Certain persons, and they by no means bad ones, had ven- 
tured to eat flesh, and they were not tainted, but since they had 
not been forbidden by the divine law to eat flesh, they seemed 
rather to have eaten it in witness of their faith than to any one's 
reproach. And this was clear from the fact that presently when 
told by me that they ought to take into account the possible cause 
of offence they stopped, so that there was no need of this fine 
delegation, inasmuch as the evil died out of itself, granting that 
it was an evil. Still I wondered exceedingly that I had been a 
minister of the gospel in the diocese of Constance for fifteen 
years and had thus far never known of the men of Constance 
having sent anywhere so magnificent a delegation to investigate 
how the affairs of the gospel were going on, but now when they 
had found a very trifling observance not broken as much as they 
seemed to wish, they filled everything with their lamentations, 
and accused the people of Zurich of being the only ones who had 
the effrontery to meditate withdrawing from the Christian com- 
munion. Yet when the suffragan denied that expression, as I 
have said, and Brendlin supported his denial, though the whole 
Senate cried out in rebuttal, I allowed their denial in somewhat 
these terms : Since you deny the expression, show that it escaped 
you unawares and I will easily pardon it ; as far as I am con- 
cerned you shall be free to correct any utterances you please. 
But the Republic of Christ has suffered no offence and no disgrace 
if some few persons have failed to keep human tradition. 

6. And I showed that it was an unsound contention that the 
gospel writings nowhere clearly allowed the eating of flesh. For 
Mark (ch. 7) speaks in this fashion: " There is nothing from 


without a man that entering into him can defile him." Here I 
showed by the argument from the preceding (in the way they 
manipulated the sacred writings) that the argument of the 
following held good in this way : Therefore, whatever is outside 
of a man cannot by entering into him defile him. Words are 
signs to me. A general negative is no sign. If he had said 
" no food," he would have left out the category of drinks ; if he 
had said " no drink," he would have left out that of food. 
Therefore, it pleased him who is the Truth to say " nothing." 
Then he added "cannot even defile." Hear! The Voice of 
Truth declares it cannot ; man, who is a liar, for all men are liars, 
says it can. Here the man squirms and says these words are not 
so clear, and must be interpreted in this way, but the preceding 
words must be regarded and the words that follow, though this 
is what follows : " Do ye not perceive that whatsoever thing 
from without entereth into the man it cannot defile him, because 
it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out 
into the draught, purging all meats?" What can be said more 
clearly, if you please, even though you regard the preceding and 
the following? 

7. They added the words " contrary to the decrees of the 
Holy Fathers and the councils." I answered that Engelhard, 
the ornament of our city, had carefully weighed with me those in 
which our friends placed greatest confidence, and that no such 
asseveration could be made from those which they treated as a 
sacred anchor. For the question was not whether Lent ought to 
be done away with, but whether it was permissible by the law of 
Christ to eat meat at that time. While I forbid no man's 
fasting, I leave it free to him. 

8. They had also added: "and contrary to very ancient 
custom." Here I frankly granted that it was the custom, and 
not a bad one. But if it were the custom, why was a proclama- 
tion added? I promised that I would certainly see to it that 
the custom should not be wantonly interrupted. 


9. And if this custom (he continued) had not been inspired 
by the divine spirit it would not have lasted so long, in accordance 
with the words of Gamaliel. I answered that this and other 
things which were not from the mind of God would be done away 
in their own good time. For " every plant," says Christ in 
Matthew, " which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be 
rooted up." But selection of foods neither Christ nor the Apos- 
tles had prescribed. Therefore no one ought to be surprised 
if unhappy mortals are turning their eyes towards freedom, since 
Christ in his loving kindness has now illumined the world more 
brightly with his gospel by a sort of second revelation. 

10. After this the weighty speaker made his turn to the Senate, 
appealing to them to stay with and in the Church, for outside of 
it none were saved. This I met thus : " Let not this exhortation 
move you, most excellent citizens, as if you had ever abandoned 
the Church of Christ. For I am persuaded of you that you hold 
in fresh remembrance what is said in the narrative of Matthew, 
that the foundation of the Church is that rock which gave his 
name to Peter the faithful confessor. No one lays other founda- 
tion than this, nor can do so. Nay, in every nation and place, 
every one who confesses the Lord Jesus with his tongue and 
believes in his heart that God ra'ised him from the dead shall be 
saved, whether he be among the Indians or the Scythians, and 
it is fixed beyond controversy that outside of that Church none 
is saved, within which we all believe ourselves to be the more 
firmly as we glory the more certainly in the hope of the glory of 
the sons of God." Here I might have dragged the man forth and 
laid bare his notion of the Church, but I preferred to spare him, 
that he might repent at length of having said before the whole 
Senate that I was too rough spoken to make it possible to discuss 
with me. When he had thus made his exhortation I began to 
look to the end of his remarks, but things turned out differently 
from what I hoped. For he turned back to this other point and 
said : 


11. That rubbish (for thus, if I mistake not, that crowd call 
the gospel teaching) was taught without foundation in Scripture. 
Here- again I fled to the protection of the words of Mark vii., as 
a sort of Achilles' shield, and shot forth these shafts : Do you 
want clearer proofs presented to you? Is not Christ worthy of 
belief? Or Mark? I have gathered many passages together, 
but I abstain from giving the rest now in order not to nauseate 
the Fathers. Here my lord Englehard opportunely drew a New 
Testament from his pocket and bade me interpret the passage of 
Paul's Epistle to Timothy i. 4. 1 took the book and translated 
the passage into German, and it is wonderful how they all breathed 
a sigh of relief, recognizing the passage, most of them, from the 
exposition of that epistle that I had made the year before. So 
much difference does it make at what point things are said. 

12. Immediately leaving these points, he brought the cere- 
monials out into battle line again, wounded however, and I 
attempted to rout them completely again thus : His point that 
it was the duty of the people's priests to set forth the meaning of 
the ceremonials I upset in this way. The gospel of Christ had 
been committed to me to preach assiduously; what the cere- 
monials indicated those would set forth who lived by them. I 
admit that I purposely, though quietly, meant to touch the man's 
sore point in this. For what else do those suburban bishops do 
but stuff their purses with illusions of consecrating things? But 
if any master of ceremonials ventured to preach other than the 
truth to the sheep entrusted to me, I declared I would not 
stand it. 

13. Now what he had said about offences I should have 
approved in general, if all his words had not seemed to point 
toward keeping those who were weak always weak, though it is 
the duty of the stronger, as those fellows wish and ought to be 
regarded, irpoo?Mnpdveo&ai t that is, to take up and comfort and 
help the weak, that they may also be made strong. Yet this one 
thing I added : Since he had spoken much of the anxious care of 


the High Prelate of Constance to avoid or guard against offence 
to the Church, had he no exhortation to his priests at last after 
Christ's fashion, bidding them to put their own immunity behind 
them and bear the general burdens with the rest of the Christian 
brethren, and to pay tax and tribute? For Christ, in order not 
to give ground of offence to those who exacted the tribute money, 
paid it and performed a miracle besides, but it could not be 
denied that all the people in every nation were complaining 
because the priests and monks and nuns were supported in idle- 
ness, contributing neither labour nor money for the uses of the 
State. They complained bitterly after they had left the Senate 
that this had been brought in outside the subject, as they say, 
but it seems to me that nothing could have been said more 
appropriately at this point, when they were talking of the High 
Prelate of Constance being so anxious about grounds of offence. 

14. In the next place, though I was aware that Paul had 
suffered Timothy to be circumcised, yet I maintained that he 
could not be persuaded by any means to allow Titus to be circum- 
cised, and I tried to give the reason for both acts, namely, that 
with Timothy, while Christianity was still in the green blade, he 
had suffered the Macedonians to be circumcised that no breach 
of the peace might arise, but after the new doctrine had grown 
somewhat more vigorous, and Paul had learned by his perception 
of this that Titus could be saved without any disturbance, he 
saved him. Here I put forth all my strength to persuade the 
Senators to abide by the ancient custom until either the bonds of 
that yoke were loosened for us or the world itself consented 
together more clearly for the taking up again of freedom. 

15. Finally I said that those could rightfully be said to rely on 
their own notions and ideas who struggled against the accepted 
Scriptures and put human traditions before the teachings of 
heaven, not those who protected themselves by no other weapons 
or defences than the sacred writings, for the former trusted in 
flesh and blood, the latter in the truth of heaven alone, not one 


jot of which could ever pass away. Though I was awaie that 
Paul had compared his gospel with the Apostles finally, I also 
knew that he did not do it for fourteen years. And though I 
perceived what they were after with that illustration, their side 
was weakened rather than propped up by it. For I had insisted 
a little while before so obstinately that they should be present at 
my explanation for no other reason than that they might see 
clearly how I handled the sacred writings ; nay, that I was ready 
to give an account of the faith that was in me before the dwellers 
in heaven, or on earth, or in hell. And finally, having begged 
the Senate to take in good part all that I had said, I stopped 
speaking, except that when the suffragan began to snap out some- 
thing more and to drive it in vigorously, that it had been decreed 
by the Holy Fathers and the councils that meat should not be 
eaten in Lent, I also began to contend more recklessly and to 
deny that it had been decreed by any councils, at least by any 
general ones. At last when he had finished his appendix we 
adjourned the Senate. 

These, dear Brother Erasmus, are the wounds I received and 
inflicted in the assembly of the Ecclesiastics and Senators ; these 
the means with which I ran to the aid of the feeble. It has all 
been written down off hand as it was spoken, for the suffragan 
had brought a prepared speech with him, but I was forced to 
fight and defend myself as I stood. If I have said anything 
more briefly or more fully than it occurred, I think this should 
be attributed to human weakness, which hardly recognizes how 
little power it has in remembering. Yet the main drift of the 
proceedings in general I have touched upon, whether in the 
Senate or in the body of Ecclesiastics or in private discussion. 
For the evening after the morning they had spoken before the 
body of Ecclesiastics, I stumbled upon them by accident and 
talked much with them. Thus I learned just where their sore 
point was. 

Good by, and if you write to my friend Oechsli, greet him for 


To the Most Reverend Father and Lord in Christ, Hugo of 
Hohenlandenberg, Bishop of Constance, the undersigned offer 
obedient greeting. 

Your Excellency will perhaps wonder, Most Reverend Father, 
what this unusual action of writing a letter to yourself means, 
and not without reason. For nature has ordained that the un- 
expected should create not only wonder, but at times even a 
feeling of dumfoundedness. Yet we would have you to be 
entirely free and undisturbed in regard to this matter which we 
are laying before you. For we do not come to your Excellency 
in regard to anything very troublesome, but to find help. For 
we are so sure that you are both a most pious lord and a most 
loving father that there is nothing we do not promise ourselves 

* Zwingli's Works, iii. 17-25. Translated by Mr. Henry Preble from the 
original Latin. 

This paper explains itself. The revelation it makes is curious. The signers 
had doubtless desire to preach the gospel as they understood it; but they had 
a much greater desire to be legally married. They must have known that their 
bishop had no authority to grant their requests. It should be remarked that 
when Zwingli and his 10 associates drew up the paper here given they were 
priests in good and regular standing, and had no idea of leaving the church. 
Their statements are to be believed. This frank, not to say naive, petition 
stands against all denials of the unchastity of most of the Swiss clergy. Simul- 
taneously with its issuance Zwingli issued another, written in German (see his 
Works, i. 30-51), addressed to the government of the Confederacy, which also 
was a plea for the free course of the gospel, but particularly that if the bishop 
should allow the priests to marry the government would allow it and protect 
the married priests. 



from you. And this the fact itself shows, for we should never 
have ventured to write to your Fatherhood unless we had had 
thorough confidence in it. We desire, therefore, humbly to beg 
you to listen kindly to what we are going to disclose a little later, 
to hear it graciously, and to take it in good part. This is de- 
manded both by the matter itself which drives us to this appeal 
and by the office which you fill as a loving father. The matter 
itself, to come to it at last, is this : Your Most Reverend Father- 
hood knows how for a long time the heavenly teachings which 
God, the Creator of all things, willed to have made plain unto 
the poor race of men by one no way inferior to himself, by his 
Son, in all things his equal, have, not without the utmost loss to 
the cause of salvation, been lying hidden through the ignorance, 
not to say evil intentions, of certain persons, and how rudely, 
when he had determined to recall and renew those teachings in 
our day by a sort of second revelation, certain persons attack or 
-defend them. For all the efforts of these defenders are aimed 
-at putting an end to the whole conflict by the first onset, and if 
they fail in this they collapse utterly, but the attacking party are 
.so shamelessly persistent in their contention that though thrown 
upon their backs by the boss of the shield of Holy Writ and 
pierced by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 
they will not yield, but would rather contend against Christ than 
abandon their pretensions, until they be compelled to abandon 
both Christ and their own pretensions, after the fashion of the 
Jews of old, who having fought against the living Christ till they 
had slain him, pursued him even when dead, till they all likewise 
perished themselves. And though we do not by any means 
willingly predict this same ill-omened end for the present mis- 
guided lot, we cannot help fearing that it may come to pass 
sometime, and for that we are not without reasons. For as in 
the old days the Jews cast out in vain from the synagogue those 
who believed in Christ (for the faith grew more and more each 
day), so in these days of ours, if any continue to frighten away 


or even to destroy the real heralds of Christ, they will meet with 
the same result. Therefore must the words of Gamaliel be 
pounded into them often, that they may keep their hands off of 
those who bring us the commands of heaven. For if it be of 
God it cannot be destroyed, for it were folly for any to try to 
fight against God; but if it be of men it will perish of itself. 
Meanwhile most watchful care should be taken lest, as those poor 
wretches perished miserably in their doomed city, some disaster 
overwhelm us unawares. For the word of God has never been 
disregarded with safety. Therefore, Most Reverend Father, we 
beseech you by our Lord Jesus Christ, not to join those who 
aim at putting under a bushel, nay, at extinguishing, the light 
that came into the world to illumine all men, and who call evil 
good and good evil, turning sweet into bitter and light into dark- 
ness, but rather to join those who have this one desire, that the 
whole concourse of Christians return to their head, which is 
Christ, and form one body in him, and, having received the spirit 
of God, recognize the blessings bestowed upon them by God. 
And this we see is by no means the case with those who promise 
themselves some sort of peace, if human prescriptions be set 
before Christ even. In God we ought to be made one, for he 
himself is one. In man, who is constantly divided against him- 
self, how is it possible that we be made one? Christ prayed to 
the Father to make us one in him, and shall man dare to promise 
us unity in him? In one God, in one faith, in one baptism we 
shall certainly be made one, for these are one. In some one 
man, when there are so many laws contradicting each other and 
such divergent opinions, so far are we from being made one that 
in no surer way can we be led astray into error and disagreement 
than in this. Nay, we see one and the same man often at vari- 
ance with himself in these points. Those things that we set forth 
a little while ago and all other things that urge us to unity, 
whence can they be more clearly and purely got than from their 
very fountain head? He that draweth from that shall abound 


in the water that springs forth into everlasting life. But the well 
is deep, and we have nothing to draw with, unless he who is 
eager to be drawn brings us rope and bucket and windlass, and 
after the manner of Moses graciously opens a well for our feeble 
souls, at which the thirsty sheep may drink and be led back to 
the heavenly pastures, which surely are found in no other corner 
of the universe than in the Gospel. For what other fountain 
head is there than Christ himself, who invites us to himself freely, 
saying : " If any one thirsteth, let him come to me and drink." 
For he desires that we all receive of his abundance, we who are 
in need of all things. For we have neither silver nor gold where- 
with to satisfy him, but he urges us to hasten to him with joyful- 
ness, to drink freely. Who has ever shown himself so liberal 
an inn-keeper among men as to suffer his wine to be poured out 
and distributed without charge save Christ alone, who bestows 
his blessings free so plentifully? And if we shall not seize the 
favour that offers itself to us thus freely, what hope awaits us? 
What excuse, pray, shall we make? Of what tortures shall we 
not judge ourselves worthy if we repel from us him who desires 
to become so near a friend? We are aware that our life differs 
all too widely from the pattern of the Gospel, but is the Gospel 
on that account to be abolished and done away with? Ought 
we not rather to devote ourselves vigorously to correcting our 
faults according to its standard and to subduing our feebleness, 
since it is the one thing, could we only believe it, from the 
inspiration of which salvation will come to us, according to the 
command of Christ when he sent forth his Apostles to preach 
the Gospel with these words : " Preach the Gospel (not your own 
theories or decrees or the regulations which some chance shall 
happen to dictate) to every creature." And he added : 
" Whosoever believeth " (when the Gospel has been preached, 
of course), " and is baptized, shall be saved," and on the other 
hand, " Whosoever believeth not, shall be damned." Since 
therefore, as we have said, God, as of old he used to warn Israel 


time and again by the mouth of his prophets, now deigns in our 
day to illumine us with his Gospel, in order to renew his covenant 
which cannot be annulled, we have thought that this opportunity 
ought by no means to be neglected, nay, that we ought to strive 
with unremitting effort that as many as possible may share in the 
glory of this salvation. And inasmuch as meanwhile a report 
reaches us that by the wickedness of certain persons your heart 
has been so hardened that you mean shortly to put forth a proc- 
lamation warning us to turn aside from the Gospel if in any part 
it shall prove at variance with human tradition, though the report 
hardly deserves credence among us, yet we are moved somewhat, 
not indeed to hesitate in slothful fear, but to pity your lot, if 
things are as they are commonly reported, that this pestiferous 
class of men, who confound all things to serve their own purposes, 
has been able to extend their influence even to yourself. But 
heaven forbid ! For we place such high hope in you that we 
doubt not we shall do a thing acceptable to you if we shall show 
the utmost faithfulness in the interests of the Gospel. For we 
cannot in any way be persuaded that you desire to see the duty 
that belongs peculiarly to your office neglected and abandoned. 
For Christ sent you not to baptize nor to anoint, but to preach 
the gospel. May heaven bless our undertaking ! We have 
determined to spread abroad the knowledge of the Gospel with 
uninterrupted effort, and to do it so seasonably that none shall 
have a right to complain that we have done him any injury. But 
if we shall not attain a prosperous issue in this according to the 
judgment of men, there is no cause to wonder. For it is a rock 
of offence and a stumbling-block and a sign that is proving false. 
For he came unto his own, and his own received him not. For 
these reasons it is becoming that your Fatherhood should look 
with favour upon our vigorous efforts, which though perhaps 
uncommon are by no means unconsidered, and that you should 
not only permit but help and advance this business, which is 
Christ's, not ours. That will be above all things honourable and 


worthy of a bishop. Nay it will belong to you, not to take upon 
your shoulders some part merely of the work undertaken, but, 
like Moses, to lead the way and to beat back or destroy the 
obstacles, so far at least as you can ; and you can by encourag- 
ing and urging men to this task, or, if that is too much, by 
approving and favouring it, and removing grounds of offence. 
For among the things that threaten most to harm the budding 
teachings of Christ are grounds of offence. For how, by the 
everlasting God, will the simple-minded commons believe in him 
who even whiile he preaches the Gospel is thought by them to 
be licentious and a shameless dog? Can any thing happen 
more disastrous to our sacred calling? We beg you, therefore* 
to show yourself as indulgent towards the second part of our 
petition as we believe you to be. We think that your most 
Reverend Fatherhood is not unaware how unsuccessfully and 
scantily the prescriptions in regard to chastity that have come 
down to our times from our predecessors have been kept by the 
general run of priests, and oh, that they could have vouchsafed 
us strength to keep their commands as easily as they gave them ! 
Yet God willed not that this be granted to man, that this gift of 
gods and angels might not be put down to the credit of man, 
but of God only. For this is plainly shown by the words of 
Christ (Matthew x\\. 10-12) when, after much discussion had 
taken place between himself and the Pharisees with regard to 
marriage, and his disciples said that, if the case were such as the 
discussion showed, it were better not to marry, he answered that 
not all men were capable of chastity, but only those to whom it 
had been given, wishing to show that it was a gift of God, that 
was given to some men in such wise that they might recognize 
that the divine goodness and not their own strength was of avail 
in this thing. And this is evidently indicated by what follows a 
little later, when, having made particular mention of eunuchs, he 
leaves it free to every man to keep or not to keep the law of 
chastity, saying, " He that is able to receive it, let him receive 


it." He meant, no doubt, that they to whom it was granted 
from above were bound to keep the law. For otherwise none 
could hold out under it. We, then, having tried with little 
enough success alas ! to obey the law (for the disease must be 
boldly disclosed to the physician), have discovered that the gift 
has been denied unto us, and we have meditated long within 
ourselves how we might remedy our ill-starred attempts at 
chastity. And turning the matter over on all sides, we found 
nothing encouraging or propitious until we began to chew the 
cuds, it were, like the cattle, over those words of Christ just 
quoted. For then a sort of loathing of ourselves began to creep 
over us from the odour of it until we began to be disgusted that 
through careless thinking we had made a law unto ourselves of 
that which Christ had left free, as if the maintenance of chastity 
depended upon our own strength. Then presently a blush of 
shame overspread our faces, just as Adam, when he was going to 
be like the gods, found first nothing but his own nakedness, then 
an angry God, and shortly after a whole cart-load of ills. For 
who would not repent when he had looked upon the pitiable 
result of his own carelessness? For what else is it, by the ever- 
lasting God, than absolute folly, nay even shamelessness, to arro- 
gate to one's self what belongs to God alone? To think one's 
self able to do that than which there is nothing one is less able 
to do? But after that loathing of ourselves, through which we 
recognized at once our rashness and our weakness, the hope of a 
remedy began to show itself, though from afar. For weighing 
more carefully Christ's words and the custom of our predecessors 
in this matter, we found that the whole question was far easier 
than we had thought. For when he says, " All men cannot 
receive this saying," and again, " He that is able to receive it, 
let him receive it," he prescribes uo punishment for them that 
cannot receive it. Nay, either because of the vastness of the 
thing which he did not wish enjoined upon each and all, or on 
account of our weaknes, which he knows better than we ourselves, 


he did not want this thing laid up against us, and so left it free. 
Therefore our souls which had been nigh unto despair were 
mightily refreshed when we learned those who were unable to 
receive the saying were threatened with no punishment by him 
who can send both body and soul into hell. But the fathers 
seemed to have cast an anxions eye in this direction too, when 
they showed themselves unwilling to enjoin chastity upon all 
without exception or to require a vow of chastity from others 
the priests, at least, and even shielded human weakness with 
clever words, as was proper, in this way : When the sponsor 
who was accustomed to make answer for all who were to be con- 
firmed was asked, "Are they righteous, these whom you present?" 
he was wont to answer : " They are righteous." "Are they 
well trained?" "They are well trained," etc. When, however, 
they came to chastity "Are they chaste'" he answered, "As far 
as human frailty allows." Thus it appears that neither our 
predecessors nor the fathers in our own day wanted that bound 
hard and fast which Christ had suffered to be free, lest they 
might smear the sweet yoke of the Lord with bitter wormwood. 
Having, I say, thus balanced these considerations, to wit, that 
we are held to the maintenance of chastity by neither divine nor 
human law, we considered nevertheless that though chastity go 
free, yet animal passion ought not to roam promiscuously, but to 
be bounded by rule and constancy, and forced into reasonable 
limits, like the rest of the course of our life, which though free 
becomes wildness and confusion, unless it be restrained by 
moderation, that we sink not to the level of swine. And this we 
see the Maker of all things willed from the beginning of creation, 
when he fashioned for Adam from his rib one woman only as a 
helpmeet and not a group or crowd of women, and joined her 
presently by so firm a bond that a man leaves father and mother 
sooner than his wife, for the two unite to form one flesh. 
Furthermore, if we run through the whole of the New Testament 
we find nowhere anything that favours free concubinage, but 


everything in approval of marriage. Therefore it appears to us 
most true and most right that for a Christian no third possibility 
besides chastity or marriage is left, and that he should live 
chastely if that is given unto him from above, or marry a wife if 
he be on fire with passion, and this we shall show more clearly in 
a little while from the truly sacred writings. Hence we beseech 
your mercy, wisdom and learning, illustrious Leader, to show 
yourself the first to lay hold upon the glory of taking the lead 
over all the bishops of Germany in right thinking upon Christi- 
anity, since you see Christ bestowing especial favour upon this 
age of ours and revealing himself more clearly than for several 
ages since, while from the whole great body of bishops scarcely 
one or two thus far have shown themselves fairly on the side of 
the revivified Christianity, and while others continue to thrust ill- 
feigned chastity upon the unfortunate general body of our fellow 
bishops, do you suffer those who are consumed with passion to 
marry wives, since this, as has been shown, will be lawful accord- 
ing to Christ and according to the laws of men. From the whole 
vast crowd we are the first to venture to come forward, relying 
upon your gentleness, and to implore that you grant us this thing, 
not, as we think, without due consideration. For when on one 
side we were being crushed by human ordinances, struggling in 
vain against the weakness of the flesh (for the law stimulates to 
sin rather than restrains it), and on the other, Scripture was 
smiling upon us with approval, we thought it no wrong to bring 
forward the passages on which we rely, that it might be evident 
to you whether we treated them intelligently or not, and when it 
appeared, as we hoped, that we had employed the Scriptures 
righteously, that you would grant what we ask for in all humility. 
The first passage of all that makes us free and that we trust to 
as to a sacred anchor is Matthew xix. For we reason thus from 
it : If Christ willed that chastity be free to us, good-by to the 
man who tries to make a law of it. The demonstration of the 
second is : If at the voice of God Peter feared to call that com- 


mon which God had purified, we may boldly declare that it is 
not right for any man to declare that that is not lawful which 
God has suffered to be lawful. For if jn that which is of little 
account God was unwilling to accept the judgment of Peter, how 
much less in a matter of much greater moment will he accept 
the judgment of one inferior to Peter? Our feeling on this point 
is clear enough from what has gone before, when we add that 
the words of Christ on the subject we are speaking of are the 
words of him who is the way and the truth and the life. For he 
says in another place, " The words which I have spoken are 
spirit and life." How then were it not lawful and safe to trust 
to them? Nay, we shall believe accursed rather than merely 
wicked anything that shall have been sought out to contradict 
the words of God. They are spirit and life, the things that he 
has said. Therefore what we say is flesh and death. The 
second passage is Paul to the Corinthians I., ch. vii. i and 2 : 
" It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to 
avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every 
woman have her own husband." Here first we concluded that 
he would be blest to whom it had been given of God to be able 
to do without a wife. And while we willingly yield this glory to 
those who live chastely, we are grieved that it has been denied 
unto us, though we bear it patiently with God's help. Next as 
to the point that to avoid fornication, every man should have his 
own wife. He who said " every man " made exceptions of 
none, neither priest nor monk nor layman. Hence it is clear, as 
we hinted above, that for a Christian there is nothing between 
chastity and marriage. He must either live chastely or marry a 
wife. The third passage is in the same chapter, verse 9 : "If 
they cannot contain, let them marry : for it is better to marry 
than to burn." Therefore if one cannot contain one's self, if 
one burns, let him marry. We have been so on fire from passion 
with shame be it said ! that we have done many things 
unseemly, yet whether this should not be laid upon those to 


some extent who have forbidden marriage we refrain from saying 
now, thinking it enough that the fire of passion alone (and that 
so frequent and violent as to threaten the mind) is pronounced 
sufficient reason for marriage. The fourth passage is verse 25 in 
the same chapter : " Now concerning virgins I have no com- 
mandment of the Lord : yet I give my judgment," etc. Paul, 
the teacher of the nations, the chosen instrument of God, with 
whom Christ had spoken intimately from heaven more than 
once, says that he has no commandment of the Lord in regard to 
virginity, and has an unpurified man such commandment? 
Then too Paul had said much of the value of virginity and its 
advantages, and much of the trials and unhappiness of marriage, 
and he added, verse 35, " And this I speak for your own profit; 
not that I may cast a snare upon you," wishing, though he had 
greatly praised the state of virginity, not to seem of opinion that 
it ought to be commanded. The fifth passage is i Timothy iii. 
i, foil. : " This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a 
bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blame- 
less, the husband of one wife," etc. And a little later he adds 
" having his children in subjection with all gravity." Here we 
noted that though it is a thing of high repute to be a bishop, yet 
he bids a bishop have a wife, whether one only or one at a time 
we will not now discuss. We noted also that the name bishop 
is the name of an office, not one of arrogant pride, and therefore 
we had no fear to call ourselves also bishops, that is, watchers, 
because the other terms which are in common use to-day either 
seem over-ambitious or are foreign words. With the name of 
watcher, however, how can any one be puffed up? Can he 
think it a state of high dignity and not a position of duty when 
the only function of a watcher is to watch? The sixth passage 
is from the same Paul to Titus i, 5 and 6 : " For this cause left 
I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that 
are wanting, and ordain elders in every city ; if any be blame- 
less, the husband of one wife, having faithful children," etc. 


And this passage is as like unto the passage above as one pea is 
like another. The seventh is likewise from i Timothy, ch. iv 
1-3 : " Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter 
times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing 
spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having 
their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry," etc. 
Here we would have those prick up their ears who make a fine 
show of chastity and keep it ill; for what they do secretly is 
wicked even to think of. The Spirit speaking in Paul says that in 
the latter days, in which we are no doubt also included, it shall 
come to pass that some will turn away from the faith unto their 
own works which are not of God. Also that this shall happen at 
the instigation of evil spirits who shall speak things good in 
appearance only, and shall commend them especially by the 
mouths of those who go about in sheep's clothing raging like 
wolves, and therefore they have ever been singed in their own 
eyes and condemned by their own judgment. And they shall 
forbid marriage. Behold, Most Reverend Father, the origin of 
their feigned chastity ! The eighth passage is ch. xiii. 4 to the 
Hebrews : " Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed unde- 
filed ; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." This 
passage seems so clearly to confirm our contention that we think 
it the duty of bishops (granted that they be watchers) to drive 
into marriage those whom they have detected in fornication. 
For fornication must be met, because besides exposing one to 
judgment it also offends one's neighbor. 

Influenced then by these passages we are at length persuaded that 
it is far more desirable if we marry wives, that Christ's little ones 
may not be offended, than if with bold brow we continue rioting in 
fornication. To this your Highness will no doubt agree when you 
reflect that the sin of him who offends one of the little ones of 
Christ can scarcely be atoned for, even though a millstone be 
hung about his neck and he be cast into the depths of the sea. 
And what, pray, is a stumbling block of offence, if the shameless 


fornication of priests is not a stumbling block of offence? And 
let your Highness not deign to listen to those who snap out like 
this : " Behold, Most Reverend Fathers, the religion of these 
men ! What else are they after than turning the freedom of 
Christ into the lust of the flesh, according to the judgmenr of 
Paul to the Galatians 5 and of Peter i, ch. ii?" For to make no 
mention now of how the cohabitation of marriage is regarded by 
God, although we do not deny that the act proceeds distinctly 
from the flesh, yet we know that it is far from harmful, since 
Paul says (i Corinthians vii. 28) : "And if a virgin marry she 
hath not sinned," because God no doubt looks without angei 
upon this thing on account of our weakness, or rather the sin 
dwelling in us. And the same Paul ( Galatians v. 19) reckons it 
not among the works of the flesh. Yet this answer is not neces- 
sary, since it is clearly evident that if we had wished to indulge 
in this thing for pleasure's sake, we should never have allowed 
ourselves to be tied up with the halter of wives when thus, besides 
suffering countless arrogances, we are cut off from the oppor- 
tunity of making good the unpleasantness and other drawbacks 
of a long married life. But since most of us fill the office of 
bishops, in which above all things there should be no room for 
grounds of offence (for a bishop ought to be blameless, as has 
been made clear above), we have all tried to see how we could 
cease from the offence, while in other respects (if we may speak 
freely without boasting) we are not of such untutored morals as 
to be in ill repute among the flock entrusted to us for any other 
failing save this one alone. For the sake of Christ the Lord of 
all of us, therefore, by the liberty won by his blood, by the 
fatherly affection which you owe to us, by your pity of our feeble 
souls, by the wounds of our consciences, by all that is divine and 
all that is human, we beseech you mercifully to regard our peti- 
tion and to grant that which was thoughtlessly built up be 
thoughtfully torn down, lest the pile constructed not in accordance 
with the will of our Heavenly Father fall some time with a far 
more destructive crash. You see what the world threatens. 


Therefore your Fatherhood ought to regard it as wise foresight 
and not unreasonableness that we come to petition you. For 
unless wise aid be applied in many places it will be all up with 
the whole body of ecclesiastics. And please do not refer us to 
the decrees of the predecessors of your Fatherhood. For you 
see how they fail to meet the case, and delay in the hope that 
though we have been first beaten with rods we can then presently 
endure the sting of scorpions. Our weakness must be indulged, 
nay, something must be ventured in this matter. O happy the 
invincible race of Hohenlandenberg, if you shall be the first of 
all the bishops in Germany to apply healing to our wounds and 
restore us to health ! For what historian will ever pass over the 
achievement unmentioned? What scholar will not trumpet it 
abroad? What poet will not sing it to coming generations? 
What embalming will not protect it from decay and destruction? 
The door of well doing is surely open before you. You have only 
to take care lest you do not hold your hands firmly clasped, and 
so let the offered opportunity slip through them. For we pre- 
sage that things are going to put on a new face whether we will 
or no, and when this happens we shall lament in vain having 
neglected the opportunity of winning glory. We have on the 
side of our request that Creator who made the first human beings 
male and female ; we have the practice of the Old Testament, 
which is much more strict than the New, under which, however, 
even the highest priests took upon their necks the gentle yoke of 
matrimony ; we have Chiist, who makes chastity free, nay, bids us 
marry, that his little children may not be offended, and our petition 
meets with loud approval on all sides. Nay, even Paul, speaking 
with the spirit of God, enjoins marriage. All the company of the 
pious and judicious are with us. If you disregard all this ^we 
know not how you can embrace your race with affection, for you 
will surpass their brave deeds, and win more than their laurels 
and statues, if you only grant us this favour. If, however, you 
cannot possibly be persuaded to grant it, we beseech you at least 


not to forbid it, according to the suggestion of another than our- 
selves. For we think you are brave enough to do right without 
fear of those who can even slay the body. And in fact you will 
have to refrain at least from interfering. For there is a report 
that most of the ecclesiastics have already chosen wives, not 
only among our Swiss, but among all peoples everywhere, and to 
put this down will certainly be not only beyond your strength but 
beyond that of one far more mighty, if you will pardon our say- 
ing so. Accordingly, scorn us not as of little account ; even a 
rustic often speaks very much to the point. And though we be 
but little children, we are yet Christ's, and far from scorning us, 
you may confidently trust that salvation will be yours if you 
receive us. As to ourselves, we shall never cease to sing your 
praises if you but show yourself a father to us, and shall render 
you willing and glad obedience. Grant a gift to your children, 
who are so obedient that they come to you before all things, and 
so trusting that in this matter, however difficult it is thought to 
be, they have ventured to appeal to you only. The Most High 
God long preserve your Excellency in prosperity and in the 
knowledge of God ! We pray with all humility that you will 
take all we have said in a spirit of justice and kindness. 
Einsiedeln, Switzerland, July 2d, 1522. 
Your Most Reverend Fatherhood's most obedient servants, 







* Works, i. 114-168. Translated from the Zurich German by Lawrence A. 
McLouth, Professor of German, New York University. The matter between 
brackets is that given in the Works, i. 158 sqq., as addenda, but here inserted 
in proper place. 

The Protestant Reformation in German Switzerland, as for the most part in 
Germany and England, was largely dependent upon the good will of princes 
and other rulers, who joined it for political ends. No one can gainsay the 
great advantage of their support. So in Zurich Zwingli endeavored to win 
over to his side the members of the City Council, rightly arguing that if suc- 
cessful he would be able to preach the Reformation through the canton, no mat- 
ter what might be the opposition. He made his appeal to the magistracy to 
be allowed to hold a public debate, at which they should sit as judges, and 
give the victory to that side which presented the stronger arguments. He 
looked forward with great confidence to such a public debate, for which he 
had prepared the way by his preaching and writing and talking ever since he 
came to Zurich in December, 1518. The City Council took up the idea, and 
were perhaps flattered by the position they would take in this debate. They 
issued the invitations to the people of the canton and city of Zurich and to the 
bishops of Constance and of the adjoining dioceses. Zwingli prepared and had 
printed 67 Articles as a programme for the debate, and looked forward with 
great eagerness to the time set, which was the 23d of January, 1523. 

On that eventful day six hundred persons priests and laymen of the canton 
of Zurich, along with a few delegates from the bishop of Constance and some 
others met in the Town Hall and held the debate, which is preserved to us 
by Erhart Hegenwald, a schoolmaster in Zurich, who informs us that he wrote 
it from memory immediately after hearing it. His account was edited by 
Zwingli and published in Zurich. John Faber (or Fabri), Vicar General of 
the diocese of Constance, one of the ablest disputants on the Roman Church 


To the worthy ecclesiastical Lord and Father Sir John Jacob 
Russinger,* Abbot at Pfabers, to His gracious Lord Chamberlain 
Master Erhart Hegenwald | offers his willing service and wishes 
peace in Christ. 

Worthy ecclesiastical Lord and Father : I understand how 
your dignity and grace is inclined to read and further the Gospel 
doctrine and truth of God from Christian feeling, which fact I 
conclude among other things from the following : That Your 

side, bore the brunt of the attacks upon that church. Zwingli was the princi- 
pal speaker on the other side. Fabri also published his account of the debate. 
" Ein warlich underrichtung wie es zie Zurich bey de Zwinglin uff den einen und 
zwentzigsten tag des monats Januarii rest verschine ergangen sey." (Leipzig? 
1523.) In it, naturally, he appeared to greater advantage than in Zwingli's ac- 
count, but it seems to have given offence to an enthusiastic portion of the audi- 
ence, and some of these young men thought they had a good opportunity to bring 
out a satire in the interests of the new faith, and so they concocted a book 
which was called " The Vulture Plucked." "Das gyren rupffen. Nalt inn 
wie Johann Schmidt Vicarge ze Costentz mit dem biichle darinn er verheisrt 
ein ware bericht wie es uff den 29 tag Jenner M.D.xxiij. ze Zurich gangen sye 
sich iibersehe hat. 1st voll schimpff unud ernestes." This was a gross attack 
upon Fabri, and he was very indignant and appealed to the city authorities of 
Zurich to bring the offenders to book, but the city authorities regarded the 
whole affair as a kind of joke and took no action in the matter. The three- 
accounts of this important debate supplemented one another; the one which 
may be said to be authentic is here translated, the second is somewhat colored 
in favor of the Roman Church, and the third, which contains a good deal of 
truth, along with more or less deliberate falsehood, have been properly drawn 
upon by the editors of Zwingli's works, and the corrections and additions they 
have made from the last two accounts are here incorporated. 

The result of the debate was the enthusiastic approval of Zwingli's teachings, 
and an crd-r from the authorities not only to continue their presentation, but 
enjoining such teaching upon all the priests of the canton. Thus this debate, 
which is known as the First Disputation, is of great historical interest as mark- 
ing the official beginning of the Reformation in German Switzerland. 

* He was one of Zwingli's friends and correspondents, and active in the 
cause of the Reformation, but returned to the Roman Church after Zwingli's 

t He was a school teacher in Zurich. 


Grace undertook to come to the meeting upon the day appointed 
by the burgomaster and the Council of the city of Zurich con- 
cerning the dissension and trouble which had arisen in the city 
on account of doctrines or sermons, but from business reasons 
and other accidental causes you were detained and hindered 
from attending. And although in addition to all the clergymen, 
preachers and priests that have livings in the city of Zurich and 
its territories there were invited and summoned to this praise- 
worthy meeting also many other foreign nobility and common 
people, prelates, doctors, masters, both secular and ecclesiastical 
lords, likewise the praiseworthy representative from Constance, 
when these had appeared at Zurich before the Council in session 
certain enemies of the Gospel truth (as I hear) ridiculed the 
matter, announcing and saying that a tinker's day was being held 
at Zurich, and that nothing but tinkers were attending. These 
things have influenced and caused me to describe all the actions, 
speeches either for or against, which took place in such praise- 
worthy assembly of learned, honest and pious men, both eccle- 
siastical and secular, so that every one might see and know 
whether such action taken and speeches made were by tinkers 
and pan-menders, also whether the opposing party (which has 
asserted that the matter is known abroad) tells the truth or lies. 
For I was there myself and sat with them, heard and understood 
and remembered all that was said there, and after that I wrote 
it down in my home, questioned and examined others who had 
been present at the meeting as to the cases in which I thought I 
might not have understood correctly. With the true knowledge 
and witness of all those who were there and took part, about six 
hundred or more, I may assert that I have written down not more 
nor less nor different words (as far as the content is concerned) 
than were spoken in the assembly. I write and send this to 
Your Grace, and beg Your Grace to accept it with good will and 
favor as a service. I also urge as a fellow brother in Christ 
Your Grace to remain in the future as in the past steadfastly by 


the Gospel truth, to practice and read industriously in the Gospel 
and St. Paul and other Holy Scriptures as Your Grace has the 
reputation of doing, also to live in Christian conformity with the 
same according to your full power ; to send such reports of action 
at Zurich to the others who are related to Your Grace in friend- 
ship or otherwise in Christian society, as for instance, the worthy 
and ecclesiastical Lord, etc., Abbot at Disentis,* to be read, so 
that the truth may be known, the Gospel advanced, Christian 
love increased, men fed with the word of God, our will and 
spirit may remain united with Christ through His word in peace, 
joy and harmony here for the time being and there forever. 

Given in the praiseworthy city of Zurich the $d day of the 
month of March, in the year 1523. 

In order that every one may understand the matter better I 
have prefixed and written down the mandate of those of Zurich, 
which mandate was sent out into all the territory and depend- 
encies of the city beforehand as an argument as to the causes 
for the above-mentioned meeting : 

We, the burgomaster, the Council and the Great Council, 
which they call the two hundred of the city of Zurich, announce 
to each and every priest, preacher, minister and clergyman who 
has a living and residence in our cities, counties, principalities, 
high and low courts and territories, our greeting, favorable and 
affectionate will, and would have you know that now for consider- 
able time much dissension and trouble have arisen between those 
who preach from the pulpit the word of God to the common 
people, some believing that they have preached the Gospel faith- 
fully and wholly, whereas others blame them as though they had 
not acted skillfully or properly. On the other hand the others 
call them sources of evil, deceivers and sometimes heretics ; but 
to each one desiring it these offer to give account and reckoning 
about this everywhere with the aid of God's Scriptures to the 

* Andreas von Valara, who had beea abbot since 1512. 


best of their ability for the sake of the honor of God, peace 
and Christian unity. So this is our command, will and desire, 
that you preachers, priests, clergymen, all together and each 
one separately, if any especial priests desire to speak about 
this, having livings in our city of Zurich or outside in our terri- 
tories, or if any desire to blame the opposing party or to instruct 
them otherwise, shall appear on the day after Emperor Charles' 
Day, the zgth day of the month of January, at the early time of 
the Council, in our city of Zurich, before us in our town hall, 
and shall announce in German, by the help of true divine Scrip- 
ture, the matters which you oppose. When we, with the careful 
assistance of certain scholars, have paid careful attention to the 
matters, as seems best to us, and after investigations are made 
with the help of the Holy Scriptures and the truth, we will send 
each one home with a command either to continue or to desist. 
After this no one shall continue to preach from the pulpit what- 
ever seems good to him without foundation in the divine Scrip- 
tures. We shall also report such matters to our gracious Lord of 
Constance, so that His Grace or His representative, if He so 
desire, may also be present. But if any one in the future opposes 
this, and does not base his opposition upon the true Holy Scrip- 
tures, with him we shall proceed further according to our knowl- 
edge in a way from which we would gladly be relieved. We also 
sincerely hope that God Almighty will give gracious light to those 
who earnestly seek the light of truth, and that we may in the 
future walk in that light as sons of the light. 

Given and preserved under the imprinted seal of the city on 
Saturday after the Circumcision of Christ and after his birth in 
the twenty-third year of the lesser reckoning. [Jan. 3, 1522.] 

Now when all of the priests, ministers and clergymen in the 
territories of Zurich obediently appeared at the hour and time 
announced there were in the Great Council room at Zurich more 
than six hundred assembled, counting the local and foreign 
representatives, together with the praiseworthy representation 


from Constance, to which an invitation to the same had been 
sent from Zurich, and when everybody had found a seat at the 
early time of the Council the burgomaster of Zurich began to 
speak as follows : 

Very learned, noble, steadfast, honorable, wise, ecclesiastical 
Lords and Friends : For some time in my Lords' city of Zurich 
and her territories dissensions and quarrels have arisen on account 
of certain sermons and teachings delivered to the people from 
the pulpit by Master Ulrich Zwingli, our preacher here at Zurich, 
wherefore he has been attacked and blamed as a deceiver by some 
and by others as a heretic. Wherefore it has come about that 
not only in our city of Zurich, but also everywhere else in the 
land in my Lords' territories such dissensions have increased 
among the clergy, and also the laity, that daily complaints of the 
same come before my Lords, and the angry words and quarrel- 
ing do not seem likely to come to an end. And so Master 
Ulrich Zwingli has frequently offered to give the causes and 
reasons for his sermons and doctrines preached here in the pub- 
lic pulpit so often in Zurich in case a public discussion before all 
the clergy and the laity were granted him. At this offer of 
Master Ulrich the honorable Council at Zurich, desiring to stop 
the disturbance and dissension, has granted him permission to 
hold a public discussion in the German language before the Great 
Council at Zurich, which they call the two hundred, to which 
the honorable and wise Council has summoned all of you priests 
and ministers from her territories. It also requested the worthy 
Lord and Prince, etc., Bishop of Constance, to send his repre- 
sentative to this meeting, for which favor the honorable Council 
of Zurich expresses especial thanks to him. Therefore if there 
is any one here who may feel any displeasure or doubt in Master 
Ulrich's sermons or doctrines preached here at Zurich in the 
pulpit, or if any one desires to say anything or knows anything to 
say in the matter to .the effect that such sermons and teachings 
are not true, but misleading or heretical, he can prove the truth 


of the same before my Lords, the often mentioned Master Ulrich, 
and show him at once his error by means of the Scriptures, and 
he shall be free and safe and with perfect immunity, so that my 
Lords may in the future be relieved of the daily complaints which 
arise from such dissension and quarrels. For my Lords have 
become weary of such complaints, which have been increasing 
gradually from both clergy and laity. 

At these remarks and invitation Sir Fritz von Anwyl,* knight, 
and Chamberlain of the Bishop of Constance, made answer, and 
spoke as follows : 

Very learned, worthy, noble, provident, wise, etc. The worthy 
Lord and Prince, Sir Hugo,f by grace of God Bishop of Constance, 
my gracious Lord, well knows and is for the most part well in- 
formed that now everywhere in his Grace's bishopric many 
quarrels and dissensions of many kinds with regard to doctrines 
or sermons have arisen in almost every place. And although his 
Grace has ever been of the desire and feeling, and always will be 
if God will, to show himself always gracious, kind and willing in 
all those things which can further peace and harmony, still his 
Grace at the especial request and petition of the wise and honor- 
able Council of Zurich has ordered your accredited representa- 
tives here present, the worthy Lords, Sir Doctor Vergenhans, 
canon, his Grace's Vicar,]: Sir Doctor Martin, of Tubingen, 
together with myself, his Grace's servant, to listen to and to hear 
such causes of dissension. He has recommended us to act in 
such matters not otherwise than kindly, to say the best that we 
can in the matter, so that it result in the honor, peace and har- 

* He later went over to the Reformed Church, 
t Von Hohenlandenberg, d. 1532. 

J Johannes Heigerlin, commonly called Faber or Fabri, because his father 
was a smith. He became successively pastor at Lindau, vicar-general of Con- 
stance (1516) and bishop of Vienna (1530). Born at Lentkirch, near Lake 
Constance, in 1478, he died at Baden, near Vienna, May 21, 1541. 

Blansch. He wrote later at Constance against the Reformed preachers. 


mony for the honorable Council of Zurich, likewise the worthy 
clergy. Wherefore, learned, worthy, honorable, wise Lords and 
good friends, I say : If there is any one here present who desires 
to make any remonstrance or accusation on account of the doc- 
trines or sermons that have been delivered here, we shall, accord- 
ing to the commands of my gracious Lord of Constance, as his 
Grace's representatives, listen gladly and willingly, and for the 
sake of peace and harmony, as far as in us lies, shall help to 
judge the dissension, if such has arisen or shall arise, in order 
that a worthy clergy may remain in peace and friendship until 
my gracious Lord and Prince, together with his Grace's scholars 
and prelates, shall further discuss and consider these matters. 
That was the sum of his whole discourse. 

Then Master Ulrich Zwingli spoke in answer, and his remarks 
in the beginning were as follows : 

Pious brothers in Christ, Almighty God has always shown His 
divine grace, will and favor to man from the beginning of the 
world, has been as kind as a true and almighty father, as we read 
and know from all the Sriptures, so that everlasting, merciful 
God has communicated His divine word and His will to man as 
a consolation. And although at some times He has kept away 
this same word, the light of truth, from the sinful and godless 
struggling against the truth, and although He has allowed to fall 
into error those men who followed their own will and the leadings 
of their wicked nature, as we are truly informed in all Bible his- 
tories, still He has always in turn consoled His own people with 
the light of His everlasting word, so that, whereas they had 
fallen into sin and error, they may again be lifted by His divine 
mercy, and He has never entirely forsaken them or let them 
depart from His divine recognition. This I say to you, dear 
brethren, for this purpose. You know that now in our time, as 
also many years heretofore, the pure, clear and bright light, the 
word of God, has been so dimmed and confused and paled with 
human ambitions and teachings that the majority who by word 


of mouth call themselves Christians know nothing less than the 
divine will. But by their own invented service of God, holiness, 
external spiritual exhibition, founded upon human customs and 
laws, they have gone astray, and have thus been persuaded by 
those whom people consider learned and leaders of others to the 
extent that the simple think that such invented external worship 
is spiritual, and that the worship of God, which they have put 
upon themselves, necessariy conduces to happiness, although all 
our true happiness, consolation and good consists, not in. our 
merits, nor in such external works, rather alone in Jesus Christ 
our Saviour, to whom the heavenly Father Himself gave witness 
that we should hear Him as His beloved Son. His will and true 
service we can learn and discover only from His true word in the 
Holy Scriptures and in the trustworthy writings of His twelve 
apostles, otherwise from no human laws and statutes. Since now 
certain pious hearts have ventured to preach this by the grace 
and inspiration of God's holy spirit, and to bring it before the 
people, they call these preachers not Christians, but persecutors 
of the Christian Church, and even heretics. I am considered 
one of these by many of the clergy and the laity everywhere in 
the Confederation. And although I know that for the past five 
years I have preached in this city of Zurich nothing but the true, 
pure and clear word of God, the holy Gospel, the joyous message 
of Christ, the Holy Scripture, not by the aid of man, but by the 
aid of the Holy Ghost, still all this did not help me. But I am 
maligned by many as a heretic, a liar, a deceiver, and one diso- 
bedient to the Christian Church, which facts are well known to 
my Lords of Zurich, I made complaint of these things before 
them as my Lords ; I have often entreated and begged of them 
in the public pulpit to grant me permission to give an account of 
my sermons and preachings (delivered in their city) before all men, 
learned or not, spiritual or secular, also before our gracious Lord, 
the Bishop of Constance, or his representative. This I also offered 
to do in the city of Constance, providing a safe permit was assured 


me, as has ever been done in the case of those from Constance. At 
such request of mine, my Lords, perhaps by divine will, you have 
granted me permission to hold a discussion in German before 
the assembled Council, for which privilege I thank you especially 
as my Lords. I have also brought together in outline the con- 
tents and import of all my speeches and sermons delivered at 
Zurich, have issued the same in German through the press, so 
that every one might see and know what my doctrine and ser- 
mons at Zurich have been, and shall be in the future, unless I 
am convinced of something else.* I hope and am confident, 
indeed I know, that my sermons and doctrine are nothing else 
than the holy, true, pure Gospel, which God desired me to speak 
by the intuition and inspiration of His spirit. But from what 
intent or desire God has wished such things to take place 
through me, His unworthy servant, I cannot know, for He alone 
knows and understands the secret of His counsels. Wherefore 
I offer here to any one who thinks that my sermons or teachings 
are unchristian or heretical to give the reasons and to answer 
kindly and without anger. Now let them speak in the name of 
God. Here I am. 

At such remarks of Master Ulrich the Vicar f from Constance 
arose, and answered as follows : 

Learned, worthy, noble, steadfast, favorable, wise, etc. My 
good fellow-brother and Lord, Master Ulrich, begins and com- 
plains that he has always preached the holy Gospel here publicly 
in Zurich, of which I have no doubt, for who would not truly 
and faithfully preach the holy Gospel and St. Paul, providing God 
had ordained him as a preacher? For I am also a preacher, or 
priest, perhaps unworthy, but I have taught those entrusted to 
me for instruction in the word of God in nothing but the true 
Gospel, which I can also prove with true witness. And I shall 
for the future not in any way cease to preach this, providing God 

* This refers to the 67 Articles he issued preparatory to the Disputation. 
tThat is the vicar -general. 


does not require me for other labors in the service of my gracious 
Lord of Constance. For the holy Gospel is a power of God, as 
St. Paul writes to the Romans (i. 16), to each one who believes 

But now that Master Ulrich begins and complains that certain 
people blame him as not having spoken and preached the truth, 
but offers and has offered to answer for his speeches and sermons 
to any one, also (even) in Constance, I say, dear Lords, that 
if Master Ulrich, my good Lord and friend, should come to me 
in Constance I would show him as my good friend and Lord all 
friendship and honor as far as lay in my power, and if he so 
desires would also entertain him in my house, not only as a good 
friend, but also as a brother. Of this he is assured at my hands. 
Further, I say that I did not come here to oppose evangelical or 
apostolical doctrines, but to hear those who are said to speak or 
to have spoken against the doctrine of the holy Gospel, and if 
any dissension should arise or should have arisen to help to judge 
and to decide the matter in kindness, as far as may be, to the 
end of peace and harmony rather than disturbance (discord). 
For the Gospel and the divine Paul teach only what serves to 
grace and peace, not to disturbance and strife.* But if there is 
a desire to dispute and oppose good old customs, the ways and 
usages of the past, then in such case I say that I shall not 

["You well understood how Zwingli spoke about peace and strife; and 
the words he spoke you refer to yourself. Zwingli spoke not about the 
strife of weapons or the discord of the faithful. For you know well that 
he said : ' God be thanked that the pious city of Zurich is so inclined to 
peace, and knows well that this comes from the word of God alone, which 
they hear and accept so faithfully.' But I say that the Gospel commands 
strife between the faithful and the Godless. Do you not know how Christ says 
in the Gospel of Matt. x. 34, ' I am not come,' etc. ? How can it be preached 
in peace? Indeed, if the whole world were believers it might be; otherwise 
not. For Christ is the stumbling-block, at which many will be offended; these 
are of the world, and the devil is their Lord, who will untertake to maintain 
his empire without ceasing with his own?" (Hans Hager in " Gyrenrupfen.")] 


undertake to dispute anything here at Zurich. For, as I think, 
such matters are to be settled by a general Christian assembly of 
all nations, or by a council of bishops and other scholars as are 
found at universities, just as occurred in times past among the 
holy apostles in Jerusalem, as we read in Acts xv. For if such 
matters touching the common customs and the praiseworthy 
usages of the past were discussed, and some decision reached 
against them, such changes would perhaps not please other 
Christians dwelling in other places, who would doubtless assert 
that they had not consented to our views. For what would those 
in Spain, in Italy, in France and in the North say about it? Such 
things must surely, as I said, be ratified and maintained as 
formerly, by a general council, in order to be valid elsewhere. 
Therefore, dear lords, I speak now for myself. As a Christian 
member and brother in Christ I beg and urge you to consider 
these things well, lest hereafter further and greater strife and 
harm may result. Accordingly it would be my sincere advice 
to drop any difference or dissension that may have arisen con- 
cerning papal or other ecclesiastical ordinances {constitutions) 
of long standing, and without further disputing to lay aside and 
postpone them, to see if they could not be arranged meantime 
more peacefully and advantageously. For my gracious Lord of 
Constance is informed that it is decided at Nuremberg by the 
estates (Standeri) of the empire to hold a general council of the 
German nation within a year, in which I hear half the judges 
selected are secular and the other half ecclesiastical, and they 
are to judge and decide about the things which are now disturb- 
ing nearly all the world. If such takes place Ihese matters 
should be referred to them as having the authority and power. 
And so it is the earnest desire of my Lord, as far as possible, to 
have such differences about the clergy settled without dispute 
for the good of yourselves and all (other) Christians. For 
though these old ordinances, laws and customs should be dis- 
cussed pro and con upon scriptural basis, who would be judge of 


these matters? According to my opinion whatever such things 
one would discuss should be brought before the universities, as 
at Paris, Cologne or Louvain. (Here all laughed, for Zwingli 
interrupted by asking : " How about Erfurt? Would not Witten- 
berg do?" Then the legate said : "No; Luther was too near." 
He also said : "All bad things come from the North.") There 
one can find many taught in the Scriptures, who have ability to 
handle so great subjects. In this remark I do not wish to be 
taken as speaking to the discredit of any one's honor or knowl- 
edge, but as a Christian member, and with entire good nature I 
announce this. But as far as my office and commission are 
concerned, I have been sent here, as I said before, for no other 
purpose than to listen, and not to dispute.* 

* ["You have left out the right sense, namely, that everything should be 
written down. Now speak and give answer if we did not dispute fore and 
afternoon about a judge, when Master Ulrich Zwingli declared that he 
would not suffer any one as judge except all Christian believers. Have 
you not ears and heard that I have often referred to this opinion; always at 
times when heretics arose a council was held, and by its means the heretics 
had been thus subdued? Hereupon I named Anus, Sabellius, Nestorius, 
Manichee and many others; and what was thus recognized thereby it should 
remain. For if this were not done and held (have you not heard that I said?), 
there would be as many beliefs as there are many countries, yea as many as 
there are cities, villages, estates, houses and people, if one does come with 
matters pertaining to the interpretation of the Scriptures before the councils. 
I have further shown that in recent years in such matters as have arisen thus 
between scholars, and always in times of misunderstanding in regard to the 
Scripture, the universities have been chosen as judges. But when one of you 
spoke, his words were considered as flowing from the spirit of God, as if into 
you alone the spirit of God enters (as St. Paul writes), and you alone were the 
wine-rooms of Jove, and all secrets of the empire of God were made known in 
them; but what the holy Fathers spoke, wrote and ordained, and also the 
speeches of us, the ambassadors, were to be considered as human nonsense, 
as I have related at length. St. Paul himself awaited and received from the 
apostles a letter (Acts xv.), in which they wrote : ' For it seemed good to the 
Holy Ghost and us," etc., and yet he was ordained by God as magister, 
as ' magister gentium.' Hence the worthy Master Ulrich Zwingli should justly 
also await and accept decision and judgment. This was said by me more than 


Then Master Ulrich Zvvingli spoke as follows : Pious brothers 
in Christ, the worthy Lord Vicar seeks so many evasions and 
subterfuges for the purpose of turning your simplicity from your 
understanding with artful, rhetorical, evasive words.* For he 
claims and says that he does not desire to discuss the good old 

once before noon, but never before noon answered by the worthy Master Ulrich. 
To be sure, after noon he did say a little, but did not better the matter, but as 
far as he was concerned (as I understood it) made it worse. (Faber.) 

" Hereupon Hans Hab, according to 'Gyrenrupfen,' answered: ' It may be 
that Zwingli forgot to answer in the forenoon ; what does that matter ? Who would 
have cared to answer your lengthy nonsense? But didn't he answer it after din- 
ner? Hence let us sit in judgment upon the XV. chapter of the Acts, then we 
shall find it is against you, and not for you. You have spoken in this manner, 
we will now let it be, and as often as one wished to consider the books you have 
gotten out of it in another fashion.' Faber continues: 'In his little book 
about the choice of food Zwingli has permitted all food, and still it is found in 
the letter which Paul received at Jerusalem from the twelve apostles that the 
sacrifice of calves and other meat which was offered to the idols was forbidden. 
He thinks that this ordinance has expired if there is no more heathenism or 
idolatry, which I did not answer for good reason. But see whether there be 
not in Africa still idolatry, -and Christians still live among them in the newly- 
discovered islands,' etc. Hereupon Hab (ib.) again : ' Do you not remember 
that Zwingli said Paul himself did not keep it? Why don't you look at the 
Scriptures with him?" Faber continues: 'Not I, but Mr. Fritz v. Anwyl, 
reported concerning this at the council of Niirnberg. For that I refer to him 
and your lords of Zurich. But if nevertheless I have said it, then see whether 
Master Ulrich or I had better information from Niirnberg look at the decree 
of Niirnberg. But the new teachers and evangelists from the North do not 
wish any weight to be given to past or future decrees or councils unless they 
favor them. But they do rightly; they know that their doctrine would be 
condemned before even half of the fathers had gathered they cannot endure 
the councils. Their song must not only be the song of the angels, but of God, 
and whatever the pious fathers say only human foolishness.' (Faber, correc- 
tion.) How often have you heard from Zwingli that he did not wish to have 
only two judges, but to have all believers judge whether you or he is corrupting 
the Scriptures. But you were unable to come to this." (" Gyrenrupfen.")] 

* [" Have you not heard that Zwingli said there was too much of my talk, 
and I thereupon offered to prove my statements if all things were noted down, 
for I do not care to speak into the air?" (Faber.)] 


customs or venerable usages concerning ecclesiastical ordinances, 
but I say that we do not want to, ask here how long this or that 
custom or habit has been in use. But we desire to speak of the 
truth (to find out), whether a man is bound by divine ordinance 
to keep that which on account of long usage has been set up as 
law by men. For we of course think (as also the pope's own 
decree says) that custom should yield to truth. As to claim- 
ing that such matters should be settled by a Christian as- 
sembly of all nations, or by a council of bishops, etc., I say 
that here in this room is without doubt a Christian assembly.* 
For I hope that the majority of us here desire from divine will 
and love to hear, to further and to know the truth, which wish 
Almighty God will not deny us if we desire it to His honor with 
right belief and right hearts. For the Lord says : Where two or 
ihree are gathered together in my name, I am there among 
them. Also in times past did not bishops assemble in councils 
as secular princes? How then are we to claim and say that the 
pious fathers of past times assembled for Christian business? 
Were there not doubtless such powerful prelates and bishops as 
now, as they say there must be? This is truthfully proved by 
the testimony of trustworthy writings of old. And this is proved 
also by the word "Episcopus," which when properly turned into 
German means no more than a watchman or overseer who has 
the care and attention of his people, and who is also charged 
with instructing them in the divine belief and will: in good 
German this is a clergyman (Pfarrer). Since now here in this 
assembly there are so many honest, pious, Christian men, not 
alone living within the territories of my Lords of Zurich, but also 
coming from elsewhere, and also many learned, Godfearing 
bishops and clergymen, who sit here without doubt to further the 
truth of God and to hear and to know the divine truth, there is 
then, in spite of what the Vicar says, no reason why they should 

*[" In which there are many Godfearing curates; also many doctors and 
real friends of God." (Bullinger.)] 


not discuss these matters, speak and decide the truth. To the 
remark that the other nations would not consent, I answer that this 
is just the complaint which is made every day concerning the " big 
moguls" (grossen Nansen, literally "big Jacks), bishops and 
priests, that they undertake to keep the pure and clear Gospel, 
the Holy Scriptures, from the common people. For they say that 
it is not proper for any but themselves to expound the Scriptures, 
just as though other pious men were not Christians and had noth- 
ing to do with the spirit of God, and must be without knowledge 
of God's word. And there are also some of them who might 
say that it is improper to publish the secrets of the divine Scrip- 
tures.* For there is no doubt in my mind that if the pure truth 
of Christ alone, not adulterated with human ordinances, were 
preached to the above-mentioned peoples or nations, and not 
covered up with papal and imperial mandates and those of 
bishops, they would as pious Christian hearts accept the truth 
and let the customs or ordinances (constitutions) of men go, 
and enlightened by God's word, would be in harmony and 
agreement with the others. However, as to the council which 
is said to be announced at Nuremberg, it seems to me that 
the thing is proposed only to put off the common people 
desirous of God's word. For I tell you, dear Lords, that let- 
ters came to me about three days ago from Nuremberg,! which 
I could show if necessary, in which there was, to be sure, some 
mention made of a council, but I do not understand that anything 
has really been decided. For pope, bishops, prelates and the ' big 
moguls ' will allow no council in which the divine Scriptures were set 
forth in their clearness and purity. It is also plain that nothing 
will come of it this year, however much the common Christian 
earnestly did toward it, because sufficient supplies could not be 

* [" I did not write a book ' de non revelandis mysteriis,' but against the 
rash, against those who in an impious manner handle holy things or Scriptures.' 

t These letters are no longer extant. 


collected in so short a time for so large an assembly. I concede 
also that a council will be announced in time. But meanwhile 
how are we to treat those whose consciences have gone astray 
so far as to desire eagerly to know the truth? Would you rob 
these thirsty souls of the truth, let them hang in doubt, frighten 
them by human ordinances, and let them live or die in uncer- 
tainty as to the truth? Really, my pious brethren, this is no 
small thing. God will not demand of us what pope, bishop and 
council establish and command, nor how long this or that has 
been in praiseworthy and ancient usage, but He will find out 
how His divine will, word and commandments have been kept.* 
Now finally, since reference is made to the judges which my 
Lord Vicar thinks cannot be found outside the universities, I say 
that we have here infallible and unprejudiced judges, that is the 
Holy Writ, which can neither lie nor deceive. These we have 

* [Hager in "Gyrenrupfen " presents the dispute about the council thus: 
"After this Mr. Fritz, the majordomo, very cleverly presented the com- 
mand of his master, saying that his master had been surely informed, 
that in a year there would be a council. Concerning this Zwingli did 
not wish to speak. Thereupon you immediately began to speak, and rose 
and said the same as Mr. Fritz had just said, and in a nice way referred 
to the future council and showed yourself a little more, just as if the matter 
had not also been commended to you. Thereupon Zwingli arose, and said we 
should not be led astray by the council; he also had had a letter in which he 
was informed how the German princes had demanded from the pope that he 
have a council within a year, but that the pope had formally assented had not 
yet happened, nor is it possible (he said) that within the space of a year a 
general council could be gathered together; furthermore the three mightiest 
lords, King of France, Emperor, and King of England, were at war with each 
other, who could not easily be conciliated; also that the fixing of the council 
would be left to the Germans. Hence one could see that the promise of a 
council was only a postponement, not a definite resolve; but it mattered little 
whether they had a council or not, for he believed that no man would live to 
see a council in which the word of God would be allowed to rule. Therefore, 
even if a council should be held at once, one would not care either, for we 
would depend upon and preach the word of God; may the councils determine 
herein what they please." After this he from Neftenbach arose and spoke.] 


present in Hebrew, Greek and Latin tongues; these let us take 
on both sides as fair and just judges.* 

Also we have here in our city, God be praised, many learned 
colleagues who are as sufficiently taught in these three languages 
as none at the universities just named and mentioned by the 
Lord Vicar. But I am speaking of those who conduct the above- 
mentioned universities as superiors and heads ; I do not mean 
Erasmus of Rotterdam and others, who stay at times at the uni- 
versities as strangers and guests. Here in this room are sitting 
also doctors of the Holy Writ, doctors of canonical law, many 
scholars from the universities. They should hear the Scriptures 
which are referred to, have them read, to see if that is so which 
they try and pretend to support by divine Scriptures. And 
as if all that was not sufficient there are in this assembly many 
Christian hearts, taught doubtless by the Holy Spirit, and pos- 
sessing such upright understanding, that in accordance with God's 
spirit they can judge and decide which party produces Scripture 
on its side, right or wrong, or otherwise does violence to Scripture- 
contrary to proper understanding. There is therefore no reason, 
why excuse should here be made. Hence, dear friends, do not 
let the speeches here made frighten you. And especially you of 
Zurich should consider it a great blessing and power of God that: 
such an undertaking should be made here in your city to the 
praise and honor of God, in order that the pious subjects of your 
territories and lands should no longer, as heretofore, be suspended 
in doubt and dissension. With humble hearts call upon God. 
He will not refuse you His divine recognition, as the epistle of 
James promises, if you ask in true faith, and do not let yourselves 

*["On the contrary I told how Paul did not boast of the languages 
when he went to the Corinthians, not ' in sublimitate sermonis ' or high 
wisdom. Thus one finds in the life of Hilary that the evil spirit often 
spoke in Greek and other tongues. And therefore I did not boast, rightly, 
about the languages, although I brought with me to you from Constance the 
Hebrew and Greek Bible; also had them both with you at the city hall. Da 
you think I have never heard or read Hebrew or Greek?" (Faber.)] 



be dissuaded and deceived in any way by smooth and pleasant 
(well-appearing) words. 

At these words of Zwingli's every one remained silent for a 
time, and no one wanted to say anything upon the matter, till 
the burgomaster of Zurich arose and urged any there present who 
wished to say anything about the matter, or knew anything to say 
about the affair, to step forward. But no one spoke. 

Since thus every one was silent, and no one was anxious to 
speak against Master Ulrich, who had before been called a 
heretic behind his back, Master Ulrich himself arose and spoke : 
For the sake of Christian love and truth I urge and beg all who 
have spoken earnestly to me on account of my sermons to step 
forward and to instruct me, for the sake of God, in the truth in 
the presence of so many pious and learned men. In case they 
do not do this I assure them that I shall summon publicly by 
name each of them, of whom I know many to be present. But 
on account of brotherly love I wish to inform them beforehand, 
so that they may arise of themselves unsummoned by me and 
prove me a heretic.*. But no one desired to come forward or 
say anything against him. 

Meantime Gutschenkel [a buffoon from Bern], standing in 
front by the door, cut a ridiculous caper, and cried out : " Where 
,are now the ' big moguls ' that boast so loudly and bravely on 
Ihe streets? Now step forward ! Here is the man. You can 
all boast over your wine, but here no one stirs." All laughed at 

Then Master Ulrich arose again, urged and begged a second 
time all who had accused and attacked him about his sermons to 
step forth and prove him a heretic. In case they did not do 
that, and did not step forward unsummoned by name, he would 

* ["Am I not right? If you do not do that I shall name those who call me 
heretic, but I warn you in advance that it is more honest to step forward un- 
called." (Bullinger.) The word of the abbot of Cappel: "Where are they 
now who wish to burn us?" Buliinger places here.] 


for a third time publicly summon them, etc., as above. When 
every one remained silent as to the invitation and challenge of 
Master Ulrich a priest by the name of James Wagner arose, 
a clergyman at Neftenbach,* and spoke as follows : Learned, 
wise, honorable, specially favorable, lords (gentlemen?) and 
princes : Since there is no one who wishes to speak of these 
matters after the repeated summons of Master Ulrich, I must, as 
the least skillful, say something. It is well known to you all, 
gentlemen, that our gracious Lord of Constance this year issued 
a mandate f ordering people to retain and keep the traditiones 
humanas until they were rescinded and changed by a general 
council. Now since no one will say anything against Master 
Ulrich's articles, which oppose the constitutiones humanas, I say 
for my part, and hope and think, that we ought not to be bound 
to keep that mandate, but should preach the word of God, pure 
and unadulterated by human additions. You know also, dear 
Lords, how the clergyman of Fislisbach \ was arrested according 
to the mandate, taken to Baden before the Diet, which afterwards 
gave him into the keeping of the bishop of Constance, who finally 
put him in prison. If we are to teach and preach according to 
the contents of the mandate, then Master Ulrich's words have no 
force. But since there is no one here present who dare (darf) 
say anything against them, to show them untrue, it is plain that 
proceedings with the gentleman from Fislisbach were too short. 
For this reason Ispeak, this good gentleman and clergyman said 

* A village 12 miles northeast of Zurich. 

t In Fiissli's Beitra%en, IV., 125-129. 

t On the border of Switzerland, but in Baden. His name was Urban Weiss. 
He had announced from his pulpit on his return from the Zurich meeting of 
August 15, 1522, that he would no longer call upon the Virgin Mary or the 
saints. He also married. The bishop of Constance complained against him 
at the Diet of Baden, which wished him arrested, but some friends went surety 
for him. However, the Diet in November, 1522, ordered his arrest. He was 
examined in Constance, and apparently as the result of the use of torture re- 
canted and then was liberated. 


further, and I would like to have judgment as to how I should 
act in the future as to such mandate of the bishop.* 

* [Faber accuses Hegenwald of error in the order of his speeches. 

"You note me down as if I had made the fourth speech, and bring forth 
a speech of which truly I would be ashamed, provided I could not erase it by 
means of the Scriptures better by the grace of God. You have noted me down 
as if I had immediately broken forth after the speech of Zwingli, which you 
know is not true. For I learnt long ago from Roman histories that an ambas- 
sador should not exceed his authority. This I have not forgotten, that one 
should not preach unless he be sent. Therefore since I have not been sent by 
my gracious lord as a combatant, but as a spectator, yea as a peaceful umpire, 
I did not wish to answer the many speeches and demands; also partly exhor- 
tation of Zwingli. And where there had been a long silence, you know that 
Mr. Ulrich having dared to name several, requested us from Constance urgently, 
still I maintained silence until the priest (whom you call), v. Mittenbach (Nef- 
tenbach), referred to my gracious lord and myself so much and so clearly that 
I thought, and I als<~> said it to the mighty lord Fritz Jacob v. Anwyl, that I 
could not leave that unanswered. For although you closed the speech accord- 
ing to your wont, still you omit that the priest says among other things that the 
bishop of Constance had forbidden to preach the Gospel write what the Vicar 
there said then you will find that I said before, I am not here to suppress the 
Gospel and St. Paul, for who would do that in view of the tale how the angej 
had brought and proclaimed to the shepherds upon the pasture when Christ 
was born the consoling message that in the Gospel was the salvation, yea the 
way and the truth , in comparing the New and Old Testament ; also the four evan- 
gelists are the four rivers of Paradise, which make fruitful the whole world with 
the water of divine grace; it has been arranged with better order, as St. Paul 
says, and I also have helped in it, since my ' scholastic! doctores ' have been 
diligently read and underscored by me, so that they also have become dirty 
from my hands. Thus I have also seen that it would be better and more 
wholesome to leave sophistry and to bring forward the Gospel and the prophets 
and also other divine writings. Therefore I held to the first proposition, how 
this might happen and the Gospel be brought forth, which then is true even if 
Master Ulrich Zwingli had never come to Zurich. But I was not thus minded, 
and did not help to arrange the proposition so that the Gospel should be 
preached in a revolutionary manner, but according to the essential Christian 
and peaceful understanding. And furthermore I declared the Gospel does not 
consist in reading, but in the strength of God, yea in the correct interpretation 
and understanding, and I have proved by two places in the Gospel of Matthew, 
Matt. iv. 6, where the tempter cites the saying Ps. xc. From this I have shown 


At such complaint the Vicar from Constance again arose, and 
spoke as follows : These remarks are meant to refer partly to my 
gracious Lord of Constance and partly to me as his Grace's Vicai, 
therefore it is proper that I answer them. The good gentleman 
I really do not know who he is spoke first as follows, saying 
that this year our gracious Lord of Constance issued a mandate 
ordering people to keep the constitutiones humanas, that is the 
human ordinances and praiseworthy customs. To this I say, 
dear lords and gentlemen, there are truly many unfair, ungodly, 
unchristian opinions and errors at hand, which very often are 
preached and put before the people, not only here in the 
Confederation, but also elsewhere in my gracious Lord's (of 
Constance) bishopric by unskillful preachers, which opinions 
and errors, my dear lords and gentlemen, serve more to disobedi- 
ence, disturbance and discord than the furthering of Christian 
unity. For they desire to estrange us from the good old inherited 
customs and usages descended upon us from our old pious Chris- 
tian fathers many hundred years ago. Perhaps it was with this 
in mind that my gracious Lord issued the mandate for the sake 
of peace and unity in his Grace's bishopric. Of what the real 
contents of the mandate were I have no accurate knowledge, 
for at that time, as is known to many, I was absent from home. 

that also the evil spirit might, as an old scholar, use and know the Scriptures 
and Matt. ii. 6, where the scribes cite the saying of Micah of Bethlehem, but 
omitted the following correct point thus by means of these two quotations I 
have well proven that it is not always sufficient to cite the Gospel or the Scrip- 
tures (although they have the first seat and the greatest honor), and that the 
Scriptures do not consist in the reading, but in the correct interpretation; thus 
and not otherwise it was done. Why didn't you note that down also for me? 
Why do you conceal that from me? And in still more unfair and wrongful 
fashion did you note down this and other of my speeches, how I so often cited 
the pope and the pope's affairs." (Faber, correction.) "When you cited 
how also the devil had made use of the Scriptures, Zwingli had answered that 
is what he was there for, to give answer that he had used them correctly. But 
you do not wish to take hold of the Scriptures." (Hans Hager in "Gyren- 


Therefore as far as concerns this mandate I do not desire to 
speak further. But since the good, pious gentleman (I don't 
know where he sits, because I cannot see him,) has referred 
to the priest imprisoned at Constance my office requires me to 
make answer. You all know, dear sirs, how this priest was turned 
over to my gracious Lord of Constance by the common peers 
[lit. confederates : citizens of the Confederacy] in the diet at 
Baden as a guilty man. Accordingly my gracious Lord had the 
prisoner examined and questioned by appointees of his Grace, 
and the prisoner was found to be an ignorant and erring man in 
the divine Scriptures, and I myself have often pitied his unskillful 
remarks. For by my faith I can say that I questioned him 
myself, went to him in Christian love, set forth to him some of 
the Scriptures from St. Paul, and he made what shall I say? 
very inaccurate answers. Ah, my dear sirs, what shall I say about 
this good, simple fellow? He is really untutored, and is not 
even a grammarian.* For in Christian brotherly love, kindly and 
without any anger, I mentioned to him some Scriptures, as for 
instance, that the noble Paul exhorted Timothy, saying : Pietas 
ad omnia utilis (kindness and greatness are good in all things), 
and his answer was so childish and unchristian as to be improper 
to mention and report in the Confederation. But that you may 
really know, my dear sirs, I spoke with him about praying to the 
dear saints and to the mother of God, also about their intercession, 
and I found him so ignorant and unchristian on these points 
that I pity his error. He insists on making living out of the 
dead, although the Scriptures show that also before the birth of 
Christ the dear saints were prayed to and called upon for others, 
as I finally convinced and persuaded him by means of Scriptures, 
that is, by Genesis, Exodus, Ezechiel and Baruch. I also brought 
matters so far that he recanted his error, and desires to recant 
all his errors about the mother of God and the dear saints. I 
also hope that he will be grateful to me and soon be released. 

* That is not a Latinist. 


Therefore, my dear sirs, with regard to the impirsoned priest 
there is truly no reason why my gracious Lord of Constance, or 
his representative, should be blamed for this affair. For nothing 
has been done other than what was proper, fair and becoming. 

To this Master Ulrich answered as folows : Dear brethren in 
Christj it doubtlessly happened, not without especial destiny and 
will of God, that my Lord Vicar has just spoken about the praying 
to and the intercession of the saints and the mother of God. For 
that is not the least of the Articles issued by me, upon which I 
have preached somewhat, and at which so many simple folk are 
troubled as though they were frightened by a heretical [lit. un- 
christian] sermon. For I know, and truly find in the divine 
Scriptures, that Jesus Christ alone can bless us, who, as Paul says, 
alone is the justice of all men, who has expiated our sins, and 
He alone, our salvation and Saviour, is the means of intercession 
between His heavenly Father and us humans who believe, as 
Saint Paul clearly says to the Hebrews, and as you of Zurich have 
often heard from me when I preached to you from your favorite, 
the epistle to the Hebrews, Now since my Lord Vicar announces 
and publicly boasts of how he convinced the imprisoned priest 
at Constance, the clergyman of Fislisbach, by means of the divine 
Scriptures, of the fact that one should pray to the dear saints 
and the mother of God, therefore that they are our mediators 
with God, I beg of him for the sake of God and of Christian love 
to show me the place and location, also the words of the Scrip- 
tures, where it is written that one should pray to the saints as 
mediators, so that if I have erred, and err now, I may be better in- 
structed, since there are here present Bibles in the Hebrew, Greek 
and Latin languages. These we will have examined by those 
present who are sufficiently well taught in the above-mentioned 
tongues, so I desire no more to be shown than the chapters in 
which such is written, as my Lord Vicar states, then we will have 
it found and read, so that we may see whether it is the meaning 
of Scripture that the saints are to be prayed to as mediators. In 


case that is so, and is really found to be in Scripture (as the Vicar 
also asserts to have convinced the imprisoned priest), I also will 
gladly, as an ignorant man, submit to instruction where I have 


DEAR SIRS: I see very well that the game is going beyond me. I 
said before that I was present not to dispute, but as the representa- 
tive of my gracious Lord to speak kindly if any dissension arose on 
account of the disputation. Thus I very well see things are going 
with me as the wise man said, the foolish are easily caught in their 
words, but it is perhaps the fault of my folly that I undertook to 
speak not as a wise man. Since I have been summoned to 
answer by Master Ulrich, I will say that some hundreds of years 
ago it happened, my dear sirs, that heresy and dissension arose 
in the Church, the causes and beginners of which were Novatians, 
Montanists, Sabellians, Ebionites, Marcionites and others, under 
whose false teachings and error many articles like these of our 
times were planted in men, and by their teachings many believing 
folk went astray. Among these some asserted that praying to the 
dear saints and their intercession, as also of the mother of God, 
and that purgatory, too, did not exist, but were man's invention, 
and the like. In order to close up such misleading roads and 
ways of error many pious bishops and fathers met in many places, 
at one time in Asia, then in Africa, then somewhere in Greece, 
that they might hold synods and councils, and to avoid and stop 
heresy and such things. And afterward constitutiones (that is, 
ordinances and decisions,) were made, prescribed and com- 
manded about those matters by the holy fathers and the popes 
that such (heretical views) should not be held, having been 
rejected by the Christian Church. And although this was firmly 
and irrevocably ratified a long time ago by decrees of the popes 
and bishops, and considered wrong in Christian churches, still 
later schisms, dissenting parties and sects have sprung up in 


Europe, as, to mention their names, the Bohemians, Picards, who 
were led astray by such heretics as Wyclif and Hus, living contrary 
to the decrees and ordinances of the holy popes, acting contrary to 
the regulations of the Christian Church and not putting any faith 
in the intercession of the saints, or still less in purgatory. And 
although such heresy and error were later rejected by all men 
of Christian belief, and although those who live and remain in 
such error were considered, recognized and proclaimed by the 
holy councils as sundered members of the mother of Christian 
churches, still one now finds those who stir up these things anew, 
and undertake to bring into doubt that which many years ago 
was recognized and decided upon as untrue and erroneous by 
pope and bishop. They undertake to drive us from old customs, 
which have endured and stood in honor these seven hundred 
years, planning to overturn and upset all things. For first they 
went at the pope, cardinals and bishops, then they turned all 
cloisters topsy-turvy, after that they fell upon purgatory. And 
when they had left the earth they at last ascended to heaven 
and went at the saints and great servants of God. Saint Peter 
with his keys, indeed our dear Lady, the mother of God, could 
not escape their disgraceful attacks. And I know some places 
where they had gone so far as even to Christ Himself. 

Shall it now go so far that not only the authorities and eccle- 
siastics on earth, but also God and the chosen in heaven, must 
be punished? If so, it is a pity. Shall not all that be nothing 
and count as nothing which the pious, holy fathers assembled in 
the holy spirit of God have made and unanimously decided? It 
cannot but have grown up to the great injury and disgrace of all 
Christendom. For the holy fathers and all our ancestors must 
have erred, and for now fourteen hundred years Christianity 
must have been misled and ruled in error, which it were un- 
christian to believe, I do not need to say. Now if the interces- 
sion of the dear saints has ever been ratified as necessary and 
useful by popes, bishops, fathers and councils, and if since the 


time of the holy pope Gregory (II.) it has continued in use 
among all Christianity, it seems strange to me that now for the 
first time people desire to consider this wrong and erroneous, 
contrary to Christian ordinance, although there are few men who 
do not feel the aid of the mother of God and the dear saints, 
not alone among us Christians, but also among some unbelieving 
heathen. If we here at Zurich are now to speak and fight against 
such customs common to all the world, and especially those pre- 
served so long by Christians, let each one think for himself how 
that would please those in the Orient, the Occident, from sunrise 
to sunset, also those in Hibernia, Mauritania, Syria, Cappadocia 
or in the Cyclades. I do not need to mention countries nearer 
our lands. Truly, dear sirs, it would be well to consider before- 
hand what dangers and dissensions might arise for Christianity if 
one were not in harmony and agreement with the whole com- 
munity in these matters. For you see, as also a heathen called 
Sallust in " Jugurtha " testifies, that small things arise from unity, 
but from dissension great things decrease and fall away. There- 
fore my advice would be, not to consider anything of these affairs 
which pertain to the whole Church, but to save them for a 
general council. And although Master Ulrich refers to Bibles 
in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, and thereby consoles himself, which 
Scripture also those here present being taught sufficiently well in 
the three languages should examine, and such Scripture as is 
pertinent to the case they should judge and consider, still I say, 
in the first place, that is not a small gift of God to (be able to) 
expound the above-mentioned languages, and I do not boast that 
I possess it. For these are especial gifts of God, as also Paul 
says to the Corinthians (xii. 7-10) : Unique datur manifestatio 
spiritus ad utilitatem, to each is given the manifestation of the 
spirit for use, to the one faith, to the other eloquence, to this one 
the interpretation of languages, etc. Of these graces or gifts I 
cannot boast of possessing any, as I know nothing of Hebrew, 
am not well taught in Greek, and understand I^atin only tolerably. 


For I am no orator or poet, and do not pretend to be. Finally 
I say, the evangelical and apostolical Scripture is not found in 
the wise, brilliant or flowery, smooth words, but in the power of 
God, as Paul says, i Cor. ii. 4. Thus, as before, it seems to me 
not to be sufficient that one apply or bring forward Scripture, 
but it is also important that one understand Scripture correctly. 
With that in view perhaps one should attend to such matters at 
the universities (as at Paris, Cologne or Lyons, or elsewhere), as 
I said before. 


SIR VICAR : There is no further need of such smooth and round- 
about words. I desire that you tell me only with what portion of 
Scripture you convinced the priest imprisoned at Constance, 
clergyman of Fislisbach, that he was not a Christian, and brought 
him to a revocation of his error. This is the point upon which 
we desire to hear in kindness your answer. Show us simply 
where in the books heretofore cited by you in the matter of 
praying to the saints and of their intercession it is stated that 
they are our mediators. This we desire to know from you. 
Therefore I beg you for the sake of Christian love, do this with 
plain, unadulterated, divine Scripture, as you boast to have done 
in the case of the priest imprisoned at Constance. Indicate the 
chapter and answer the question as asked in simple words, saying 
here or there it is written. Then we will see if it is so, and in 
case we are persuaded and convinced of it we will gladly submit 
to instruction. There is no need of long speeches.* For your 
long quoting and citing of many writings of the ancients looks 
more like seeking the praise and favor of the audience than the 
furthering of the truth. Probably I also could bring in many 
narratives and essays of the ancients, but it is not to the point. 
We well know that many things were decided upon in times 

* ["Upon Fathers and councils one no longer depends, unless they prove 
their case by the Scriptures. ' ' ( Bullinger. ) ] 


past by the fathers in council assembled which were afterward 
repealed and revoked by others who thought they assembled in 
the spirit of God, as is plainly found in the Nicene Council 
and that of Gangra,* in the first of which the clergy was 
allowed to marry, and all those who spoke against it were cursed, 
while the second decided upon the opposite.f It is alsj a fact 
that many times ordinances {constitutiones} have been issued 

[Held in the 4th century. Gangra was the capital of ten Asia Minor 
provinces of Paphlagonia.] 

t [" ' Not a word is written concerning this in the canons of the council of 
Nicaea.' To be sure Zwingli said that Paphnutius in the council of Nicsea had 
been, by which Zwingli means that marriage at that time (although he partly errs) 
was permitted. Now in the council of Gangra you say in your report Zwingli had 
said it had been forbidden. How could you lose your memory in such fashion 
that you could write such ? On the contrary he said that it had been permitted in 
the council of Gangra , and doubtlessly he based this upon another pamphlet , which 
he called 'Apologeticum,' and written in Latin quatering (see Latin version). 
Rogo nunc ut concilio parendum, etc. You do him wrong, now I must take his 
part. Furthermore beware, my pamphlet here will be read the sooner by those 
who are at Zurich and accepted as good. Zwingli also has referred to the 
Carthaginian council. In the first place I showed how there are two kinds of 
councils, namely, those of the general Christianity, which are called ' oecu- 
menica ' or ' universalia ' in Greek and Latin; then the ' particularia.' Now 
it is never found that in the matter of faith the ' universalia ' were ever opposed 
to each other. The Carthaginian council was only a special one. And to 
every bishop was left his free will and opinion; and only later the council of 
Nicaea was held by 318 Fathers, (thus) they may have had an honest excuse. 
Why have you omitted this report?" (Faber.) Heinrich Wolf answered 
thereupon : " Zwingli simply said that in a council Paphnutius with difficulty 
had secured permission for the marriage of the priests, also spoke well against 
such statutes. Now you come forward and say that he placed Paphnutius in 
the Nicsean council, although he said to-day (as I asked him about it) that he 
had never read about a council which had forbidden marriage, but about popes 
500 years after the birth of Christ. But since the papists speak so consistently 
about the Nicsean council he made his point, how he really had never read 
carefully the history of this council, and thus had believed you papists. And 
you have brought forth the Nicsean council, and not Zwingli; then you opposed 
the Gangrensian council by saying that it was not a general one." ("Gyren- 


and ordered by the fathers in council to which their successors 
paid no heed. For example, that the mother of God conceived 
without sin was decided in public council at Basel, and yet no 
preaching monk is so foolish as to speak against it. Also many 
ordinances or rules of the fathers are found which were changed 
afterwards, especially in our times, and otherwise not kept or 
given up by the influence of money, so that such things are 
allowed which were formerly forbidden by the fathers. From 
this we can see that councils have not always acted in the spirit 
of the Holy Ghost, but sometimes according to human will and 
judgment, which is of course forbidden by divine Scripture. For 
the Holy Ghost does not say this to-day and to-morro\\ that, 
but its ordinances and regulations must remain everlasting and 
changeless. The pious fathers whom we call holy are not for 
that reason to be dishonored and attacked as to their piety or 
holiness. For nothing is easier or from native weakness more 
natural than to err, especially when out of conceit or over-hasty 
judgment depended upon their own opinion instead of upon 
the rule of God's Word. This all shows us that the pillars and 
supports of many of the fathers, as Augustine and Jerome, are 
not in harmony in their writings; that often the one thinks not 
only something else, but by Scripture proves the contrary. But 
as to the fact that they say it would be too bad if we Christians, 
and especially our forefathers, had lived so long in error, since 
from the time of Gregory the intercession of the saints has been 
accepted and kept, I say that it is not a question of -when a thing 
begun in the Church. We know well that the litany was estab- 
lished in the time of Gregory and kept down to the present. But 
all we desire is to hear the Scripture upon which my Lord Vicar 
bases his recommendation that we should pray to the saints. 
For if such a custom began at the time of Gregory then it did 
not exist before,* and if before that time men were Christians 

* [" I said even more about the time further back, especially in the time of 
Cyprian, 1300 years ago, there was intercession of the saints; yes, I shall try it 

still further back." (Faber.)] 


and were saved, though they did not hold to the intercession of 
the saints, and perhaps knew little of it, then it follows that they 
did not sin who believed in Christ alone and did not consider 
the intercession of the saints. 

For we know really from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ alone 
is the mediator between us and God, his heavenly Father, as has 
been stated before. Furthermore, I say that many learned men 
have spoken and fought against the ordinances, and especially 
against the so-called holy ones, useless and superfluous customs, 
also against great power and tyrannical show; but the great 
moguls, popes, bishops, monks and prelates, do not wish to be 
touched on their sore spots, and tell the unlearned crowd that 
their rule has been erected by God, and that He has ordered 
them to govern thus, hence all those opposing, or only having 
such thoughts, are not alone heretics and shut out from the rest 
of Christianity, but as cursed and the property of the devil they 
have been exiled, outlawed, condemned, and some have been 
sentenced to the stake and burnt. Therefore, dear brethren, 
although one says to you perhaps in order to frighten you the 
more how our pious parents and ancestors have erred, and on 
account of such heresy have been deprived of salvation : I tell 
you (on the contrary) that the decisions and judgment of God 
are hidden from mankind and incomprehensible to us, and no 
one should impiously concern himself therewith. God knows 
that we all have faults and are sinners, yet through His mercy He 
makes up our deficiences and enables us to accomplish something, 
yea even such deeds for which perhaps our strength alone is not 
sufficient. Consequently it is in no wise befitting that we desire 
to judge and pronounce upon the secrecy of God in such mat- 
ters. He knows full well where He may overlook and pardon, 
and we must not interfere with His decision and compassion, in 
which manner He has treated and dealt with each one. We 
trust in Him as our eternally good Father, who can, as 2 Peter ii. 
9 says, well protect His own, and deliver the godless over to 


eternal suffering. Nor does it do any good to say that there are few 
people who will not feel comfort through the intercession of the 
saints. I say, where such help comes from God, we will not 
judge why God acts thus and helps man in such fashion as He 
desires. But where this occurs from infatuation by the devil as 
a judgment of God upon the unbelieving man, what shall we say 
then ? Ye know well what work the devil has sometimes done 
in many places, which if it had not been obstructed would have 
resulted in great deception and injury of all Christendom. 
Furthermore, that is an evil teaching which proclaims that other 
nations will not consider us Chritsians if we do not obey the 
ordinances, /. e., the laws of former times, as this is ordered and 
demanded by the papal decrees. For indeed there are many 
ordinances in the canons of the Roman bishops and popes which 
the aforesaid nations do not obey and still they are none the less 
Christians. Concerning the above I shall make use of the follow- 
ing short comparison : Ecclesiastical property is (as they say) in 
the power of the Roman pope, and he may bestow and grant the 
estates to whomsoever he pleases. Now look ye how this ord- 
inance is obeyed in Spain and France ; there the ecclesiastical 
benefices or estates are not granted to any foreigner, let the 
pope say what he pleases. But we foolish Germans must permit 
the sending of stablemen and mule-drivers from the papal court 
to take possession of our benefices and curacies and be our 
spiritual guides, although they are ignorant of and know naught 
concerning the Scriptures, and if we do not tolerate this we are 
disobedient to the Christian Church. But the above-mentioned 
nations do not obey the ordinance and still are without question 
pious Christians. Hence, Sir Vicar, I desire that you do not 
make use of bombastic speeches, which do not even bear upon 
my question, but, as I have asked before, tell at once where is 
written in the Scriptures concerning the holy invocation and 
intercession of the Virgin Mary, as you pretended you could show 
in Exodus, Baruch, etc. That is what we desire to hear. Hence 


answer in regard to this obscure point. We do not ask what 
has been accomplished or decided in this or that council. This 
all does not bear upon the matters which we ask you, otherwise 
we will be speaking for a month concerning these matters. 


Gentlemen : I am accused of speaking very evasively and not 
to the point. I have excused myself before for not being able 
to speak eloquently, and I have also listened to you (Master 
Ulrich) . [Here Master Ulrich interrupted : There is no need of 
so much teasing.] That you accuse me of seeking to add to my 
own fame rather than the advancement of truth I cannot pre- 
vent. I wished to assist in making peace and doing the best. 
But when Master Ulrich claims that I say much concerning things 
settled by councils of yore, and then changed by later ones, I say 
that there are two kinds of councils referred to. Some are known 
as " concilia universalia " (these are common or general gather- 
ings), where many of the bishops and Christian leaders meet, as 
in the four foremost councils, Nicsea, Constantinople, Ephesus 
and Chalcedon, and some others. Whatever was accomplished 
and done in these has never been entirely changed by the others, 
but has been preserved like the Gospel. Some are known as 
" concilia particularia," of which there have been many, not con- 
sisting of all the fathers of the common parishes about, but of 
special ones, as was the council of Gangra, and many others. 
In these probably something has at times been settled which later, 
perhaps not without cause, has been decided otherwise. But it 
never has been that the priests were permitted to have wives. 
And although the Eastern Church, especially in Greece, wished 
to have this considered just, the pious fathers of other nations 
would not permit this and forbade it, considering from weighty 
reasons * that the marriage of priests is detrimental to the 

* ["Although I said that I wanted to defend it well against the destroyers of 
divine gifts and services. But I did not say it. You thought I would say it. 
Although I did not think of the pope, the ceremonies and many other things, 
H is no proof that such are useless." 


churches and not for the gaod of the service of God, as also 
Saint Paul says, i Cor. vii. 32 : " Qui sine uxore," etc. "He 
that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord." 
vii. 27 : "Solutus es ab," etc. "Art thou loosed from a wife? 
seek not a wife !" There he speaks of those who serve the 
Gospel as priests. Id. vii. 20 : " Let every man abide in the 
same calling wherein he was called." Such and many other 
causes have induced the holy fathers not to allow and permit 
marriage to priests. Indeed it could not happen without parti- 
tion of the property of the churches. 


Marriage forbidden to priests is not found everywhere, as one 
pretends, but imposed by man contrary to a divine and just law. 
This is evident, first of all, in St. Paul, i Cor. vii. 2 : " Neverthe- 
less, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and 
let every woman have her own husband." Since he says " every " 
undoubtedly he does not wish the priests to be excluded. For 
he confirms and refers to the marriage of priests, especially in 
writing to i Timothy iii. 2 [4] : "A bishop (/. e., priest) then must 
be blameess, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good 
behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, etc. One that ruleth 
well his own house, having his children in subjection in all 
gravity." In the same fashion he speaks, iii. 8, concerning the 
deacon, whom we call evangelist. And Paul also writes to Titus 
i. 5, 6 : "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest 
set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (whom 
we call priests or deacons) in every city, as I had appointed thee : 
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful 
children," etc. Undoubtedly the holy Paul, inspired by the Holy 
Ghost, recognized our inability and incapacity to remain chaste 
by our own will except through the grace of God. Hence he 
says in the afore-mentioned place, i Cor. vii. 7 : " For I would 
that all men were even as I myself," and i. i.: "It would be 


good for man to be thus," but Paul adds, vii. 7, and says : " But 
every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner 
and another after that." Therefore Paul places no restriction 
upon the marriage of priests, and indeed writes expressly : "A 
bishop (/. (., priest) and a deacon shall have a sober wife and 
well-bred children ;" and furthermore he permits marriage to all 
people, and says, i Cor. vii. 28, 7 : " But and if thou marry thou 
hast not sinned. But every man hath his proper gift of God," 
etc. It is evident from this that marriage is not forbidden to 
priests by divine law, and that chastity is to be maintained, not 
by means of our resolutions, but with the help of the grace of 
God. This real truth and wisdom of God Christ also proves to 
us, Matt. xix. 10, 12 : "His disciples say unto him, if the case 
of the man be so with his wife it is not good to marry. But 
he said unto them, all men cannot receive this saying save they 
to whom it is given. And there be eunuchs which have made 
themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake (that is, 
due to the evangelical doctrine). He that is able to receive it 
let him receive it !" Do you hear that Christ says here that it is 
not possible for all people to keep chastity except such as have 
received it from God? Hence He does not forbid the twelve 
apostles to marry. Nor did God in vain give Adam a woman as 
helpmate ; He could have given him a man as helpmate if He 
had wished to keep him chaste. But He said : " Crescite et 
multiplicamini !" And although this is known to every one, still 
the pope is able, by means of his ordinance, to demand from 
each priest or other ecclesiastic chastity and that he be unmarried 
contrary to divine law, and he can weigh down the poor con- 
sciences corrupted by sin and shame ; and he permits public 
offense and sin contrary to the sunny and pure ordinance of 
God. I say that I know of no greater scandal in Christendom 
than that marriage is forbidden to priests (I am speaking about 
the pastors ; the others let them lie, whatever they do), yet they are 
allowed to commit fornication publicly as long as they give money. 


They pretend that if the priests had wives the property of the 
churches would be divided and disappear. My God, what sort 
of a reason is this? Do we then never spend the property of 
the churches uselessly? We will our real and movable property 
to the illegitimate wives and children, if we have any, contrary 
to God's will. What would that harm the benefice if a priest 
had a dear wife and well-bred children brought up for the service 
of God out of the benefice? The benefice could retain its 
properly and income, which it has, although the priests may at 
times have mismanaged. Priests have not always been forbidden 
to many. This is proved by Pelagius,* in which is found a decree 
of the pope (Diss. XXXI., cap. ante trienn.) that the subdeacons 
of Sicily shall forsake their wives, which they had taken in accord- 
ance with the divine ordinance, and shall not have intercourse 
with them ; which statute Gregory I. later on rescinded. Con- 
sequently if it was ordered in former times by Pelagius that priests 
shall have no wives, and this was rescinded by Gregory, then 
it could not always have been as at present, but the law must 
have been made by man, which God never required to be kept. 


It has never happened since the time of Tertullian and the 
council of Nicsea, 1200 years ago, that priests had wives or were 
allowed to have them 

Thereupon one of the council at Zurich said : But they are 
allowed to have mistresses. 

The vicar was astonished for a while, but resumed : It is true 
that the subdeacons in Sicily who had taken wives previously 
contrary to the custom of the Roman churches were permitted 
by the aforesaid Gregory to keep them. But only on the condi- 

Alvarus Pelagius, bishop of Silves, Portugal, d. at Seville, 1352, whose 
Summa de planctu Ecdesice (" The Chief Points of the Church's Complaint "), 
written in 1332, published, Ulm 1474, Venice 1560, is a frank statement of 
the disorders of his time and a plea for the exaltation of the Papal See. 


tion that in future no one would be consecrated who would not 
pledge himself to remain unmarried and chaste. Thus also it 
was resolved in the council at Carthage that no bishop, priest or 
deacon should have intercourse with women, but remaiu chaste 
without wife. Hence I say that it will be no easy matter to 
show that marriage was ever permitted to priests.* 


And even if you say since the time of the apostles, still mar- 
riage is not forbidden to priests by divine ordinance, but allowed 

* ["Don't you recollect that I said I do not like to speak concerning the 
marriage of priests? On account of this I have kept quiet and have omitted 
to state a better reason. But where have you hidden the fact that I said that 
from the time of the apostles one does not read that one who was consecrated 
as subdeacon, deacon, priest or bishop could marry again after his wife 
had died? Did I not say further that it is thus understood, not alone in the 
Western, but also in the Eastern Church in Crete, Corcyra, etc., also in India, 
in the case of the Presbyter John, and among the Russians? so that any one who 
took a virgin as wife may be consecrated as priest, but that if she die that he 
can take no more; in the same manner if he has no wife before he is conse- 
crated he can take none after the consecration; this I have shown. Why do 
you omit this? It was indeed necessary for you to include the subtilei 
honorable interruption of one who spoke about the prostitutes; and you 
also placed Gutschenkel t as a character in the comedy. Since the good 
Master Ulrich consoles himself much in his speeches and writings with a 
text which he found in XXVII. dist. c., 'Si quis discernit,' which is claimed 
to have been made in Gangrensian council, know then that there were not 
more than 16 bishops in that council; these made 19 canons against the 
majority that even desired to abolish holy marriage. But therein they did not 
reject the state of virginity and widowhood, hence also the marriage of priests 
was not, as you think, admitted by the pious Fathers. They spoke about the 
priests who had wives before the consecration and bethink yourself what 
councils over 18 bishops would prefer, even although they should prefer it 
were so, as it is not, as Zwingli says. Now see how the supplication issued by 
your and our common gracious lord of Constance shall be answered. About 
the marriage of priests I do not like to speak (several times repeated). Accu- 
sations of two wrong quotations were made." (Faber.)] 

t The half-witted fellow mentioned above. 


and permitted, as I have proved before. And that priests 
formerly had wives is sufficiently evident, since formerly many 
sons of priests have become popes and bishops, which could not 
have happened if they had not been born in wedlock. How is 
it that one always prefers human laws and human meddling, and 
always sets human traditions above the will of God? Although 
one finds that also the fathers have protested against many ordi- 
nances, and you know how vehemently the pious man Paphnutius * 
opposed such a statute and would not agree to marriage being 
forbidden to priests. Furthermore, Eusebius writes that some of 
the apostles had their wives with them, which facts are sufficient 
indications that the present custom was begun by people of later 
times, but that marriage was not forbidden by divine ordinance 
either to layman or priest. And although in the council of 
Nicaea, as you say, it was forbidden to priests to have wives, still 
what about that? In former times baptism by heretics was 
considered by many fathers as just and valid, as Cyprianus tells 
us, but later in the council at Carthage this was declared to be 
worthless and was set aside. 

To such varied arguments of Master Ulrich the vicar had 
nothing more to oppose and say, except in regard to the baptism 
by heretics, and that on account of the following reasons : Master 
Ulrich has said that the baptism of heretics was considered valid 

* Bishop of a city in Upper Thebais ; had his right eye gouged out and his 
left knee-cap injured in the Maximian persecution (305), and was banished to 
the mines. He appeared in the Nicene Council 325, and was honored as a 
confessor. When it was proposed to enact a law which forbade the married 
clergy to continue to live with their wives, Paphnutius declared very earnestly 
that so heavy a yoke ought not to be laid upon the clergy; that marriage itself 
is honorable and the bed undefiled; that the Church ought not to be injured 
by an undue severity. " For all men," said he, "cannot bear the practice of 
rigid continence; neither perhaps would the chastity of the wife be preserved." 
He favored dissuading clergymen from marrying after ordination, but allowing 
those who had married prior to ordination to retain their wives. His own 
known virginity and his sufferings for the cause gave so great weight to his 
words that he was unanimously sustained by the Council. 


by several, and thus referring to Cyprianus. But the vicar 
demanded that one should record the words of Master Ulrich, 
because he believes he may catch him in small matters, for Master 
Ulrich may not have been very careful in the use of his words. 
Therefore he also demands that a copy of Cyprianus should be 
brought, so that the dispute may be decided. But the vicar 
said : Supposing the words of Cyprianus are as I think, and not 
as you? And thereupon a quarrel arose, which had naught to do 
with the questions which the vicar had been called upon so often 
to answer. Therefore I have not taken pains to remember and 
note this. But if I understood the matter both were right. For 
Zwingli referred to those who had been baptized by heretics, 
who should, according to Cyprianus, be baptized again in the 
churches, which several thought was needless. But the vicar was 
speaking of those who once baptized by Christians had gone over 
to heresy and later on wished to reenter the Christian Church ; 
these did not need another baptism, but merely absolution by the 
imposition of hands, etc. Several were, however, also opposed to 
this, as Cyprianus writes in his letters to Ponvpeius and to Quintinus. 
After there had been considerable talk concerning this matter, 
Dr. Sebastian Hofmann,* of Schaffhausen, a member of the order 
of the Barefoot Monks, spoke thus : Learned, spiritual, honor- 

* He was properly called Sebastian Hofmeister, or in the scholastic form 
Oikonoinos. Because his father was a " wagner," i. e., wheelwright, he was 
himself erroneously called Wagner, or in Latinized form Carpentarius. He 
was born at Schaffhausen in 1476; entered the Barefoot (Franciscan) monks 
there; studied in Paris the classical tongues and Hebrew, and came home in 
1520 as a Doctor of the Sacred Scriptures, and the same year he taught in the 
Franciscan monastery in Zurich and so came in contact with Zwingli. He 
embraced the Reformation, and introduced it into Lucerne and into Schaff- 
hausen (both 1523), whither persecution drove him. It is indeed as the Re- 
former of Schaffhausen that he is best remembered, yet his career there was 
brief, for in 1525 he had to leave that city. He preached in Zurich (1526) 
and taught Hebrew in Bern (1528), but died September 26, 1533, as preacher 
at Zofingen, thirty miles sontheast of Basel. Two of his writings were com- 
monly attributed to Zwingli. 


able, wise, favorable, gracious, dear gentlemen, it is necessary 
that I also speak in this matter. Last year I was lector at 
Lucerne, where, according to my best knowledge and belief, I 
preached, as I hope and know, nothing else except the word of 
God from the Scriptures, and in these sermons at Lucerne I have 
mentioned, like many others, the many useless customs of inter- 
cession and invoking of the saints and the mother of God, and I 
taught in accordance with the contents and teachings of the 
holy Scriptures. On account of such sermons, made, as stated 
above, at Lucerne, various accusations against me were sent to 
Constance, among which was the sermon about the invocation of 
the saints. I was accused of being a heretic, condemned, and 
therefore driven out of Lucerne. And now as my lord, the vicar, 
has pretended before and stated that the appeal and invocation 
of saints is founded upon the Scriptures and mentioned in the 
Old Testament, I pray for God's sake that the vicar, as he was 
wont to boast to have overcome the priest imprisoned at Con- 
stance, show the place, as formerly often had been asked of him, 
especially since on account of this I have been accused by my 
gracious lord at Constance of being a heretic, and I will accept 
it with many thanks and willingly allow myself to be taught in 
case I have perchance erred in rr.y sermons, have not told the 
truth, or have misread or misunderstood the Scriptures. 


We know from the Old and New Testaments of God that our 
only comforter, redeemer, savior and mediator with God is Jesus 
Christ, in whom and through whom alone we can obtain grace, 
help and salvation, and besides from no other being in heaven or 
on earth. 


I well know that Jesus Christ alone is the comfort, redemption 
and salvation of all, and an intercessor and mediator between us 
and God, his heavenly Father, the highest round by which alone 


is an approach to the throne of divine grace and charity, accord- 
ing to Heb. iv. 16. Nevertheless one may perhaps attain the 
highest round by means of the lower.* It seems to me the dear 
saints and the Virgin Mary are not to be despised, since there 
are few who have not felt the intercession of the Virgin and the 
saints. I do not care what every one says or believes. I have 
placed a ladder against heaven ; I believe firmly in the interces- 
sion of the much-praised queen of heaven, the mother of God, 
and another may believe or hold what he pleases. 


That would indeed be a foolish piece of business if one could 
arrive at the highest round without the lower or without work, or 
if he were on it to begin at the lowest. Sir Vicar, we do not 
dispute here concerning how one should appeal to the saints or 
what your belief is. We desire only that you show us it in the 
Gospel, as has been formerly often demanded and begged of you. 

Thereupon Master Leo Jud f arose and spoke thus : Gracious* 
careful, honorable, wise, favorable, dear gentlemen, I have been 
made by you, gentlemen, here at Zurich, a people's priest and 

* [" I said, one may do that. ' Must ' and ' can,' are they not two different 
things? The debate was not about 'must,' but about 'can.' Did you not 
hear from me about the ladder of Jacob fastened to heaven on which are many 
rounds? Did you not hear how quickly and speedily Zwingli wished to swing 
himself up to the cross of Christ ? Do you not think if he wished to go to the 
Lord on the cross that then rightly he would also have found Mary, John and 
the other people of the Gospel?" (Faber.)] 

tBorn at Gemar, near Rappoltsweilen (or Ribeauville), Elsass, thirty miles 
southwest of Strassburg, the child of a clerical marriage, 1482; studied at 
Basel; inclined first to pharmacy, but took up theology, and had Zwingli as 
his fellow-student under Thomas Wyttenbach; M. A., 1506; became deacon 
of St. Theodore's church, Basel; pastor of St. Pilt, four miles east of his birth- 
place; people's priest at Einsiedeln in succession to Zwingli, and at his sugges- 
tion, 1518; the same, and by the same influence, at St. Peter's, Zurich, 1522; 
coadjutor of Zwingli and Bullinger, particularly remembered as principal trans- 
lator of the Zurich Bible; died in Zurich, June 19, 1542. 


pastor, perhaps unwisely, in order to proclaim to you the word of 
God, the Gospel of Christ, which I shall try to do according to 
my best capabilities, in as far as the grace of God will assist me 
and the Holy Ghost aid me. But surely now many ordinances of 
man have been retained from long habit in the churches, and have 
intermingled with the Gospel, so that the clergy frequently have 
preached and commanded their keeping equally with the Gospel : 
yet I now declare that I shall not obey such human ordinances, 
but shall present and teach from love the joyful and pure 
Gospel, and whatever I can really prove from the Scriptures, 
regardless of human ordinance or old traditions, since such 
human ordinances, decreed by pope or bishop, have been 
here recognized and proved to be by the Articles * emanating 
from Master Ulrich to be entirely opposed to the Gospel and 
truth, and still there is no one here who desires or is able to say 
anything truthful or fundamental against him. And so although 
my Sir Vicar has pretended to prove and show by means of the 
Gospel the invocation and intercession of the saints, such has not 
yet been done, although frequently requested. Therefore I also 
pray to hear and to know from him where it is written in the 
afore-mentioned biblical books concerning the invocation and 
intercession of the saints. For perhaps also in my sermons, if 
God lends me grace, it will be declared and proclaimed that one 
should invoke to Jesus Christ alone, and only look to him for all 
compassion, all help, mercy and salvation, which shall be sought 
and demanded from no other being. Therefore, Sir Vicar, I 
desire that you teach me if I have erred, and report from the 
Gospel, showing place and location where it is written that the 
saints are to be invoked by us or that they are intercessors. 
Such I shall receive with many thanks, and will gladly allow 
myself to be taught by you. 

* Referring to the Sixty-seven Articles issued by Zwingli for the basis of 
argument in the Disputation. 



Ne Hercules quidem contra duos. Shall I strive with two? 
That was considered even too difficult for the strong Hercules 
(according to a proverb of the ancients). Dear Sir, I have 
nothing to do with you. 

Leo : But I have something to do with you. 

Vicar : I do not know who you are. 

Leo : I shall gladly be your good friend in so far as you desire. 

Vicar : That I shall not refuse, for I am not here to become 
an enemy of any one. If you are then my good friend, as you 
say, it will happen to ns as to Socrates and Solon,* who also 
through argumentation became good friends. 

Leo : Then you have one friend more than formerly. 

To prevent such and other gibes Master Ulrich began to speak : 
Would to God that the saying, Ne Hercules quidem, etc., would 
be understood and followed as readily by some as it ordinarily 
is the custom to quote it. Sir Vicar, we desire to hear the 
quotation concerning the invocation and intercession of the 
saints, not such useless talk and nonsense. 


It is the custom and usage of Christian churches, and is kept thus 
by all Christian folk confirmed by the litany and the canons missal, 

["Look, how can you say that to excuse myself I quoted in the 
beginning the saying of Solon, how then it was written by the wise man 
Solon that when once he was sitting with scholars, who were debating, 
and Periander asked him whether he was silent from lack of words or because 
he was a fool, he answered no fool can keep quiet ? Therefore I did not refer 
to Socrates (as you say), but to the saying of Xenocrates when he was one 
time asked why he alone kept still and allowed all the others to speak, he had 
answered that what I sometimes said I regretted, but that which I have not 
said that I have never regretted. Thus it happened, and not otherwise, and 
as a witness of the truth I cited the proverb: Audiens sapiens sapientior erit. 
And as another witness Zwingli interrupted the speech by saying that there was 
no need of fawning and hypocritical style. Now look how you have hit it?" 


that we appeal to the Virgin to intercede for us ; this the mother of 
God herself says in the gospel of St. Luke. Ex hoc beatam me 
dicent : "All generations shall call me blessed," and her cousin 
Elizabeth addressed her in a friendly manner, saying : Unde mihi 
hoc, etc." And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord 
should come to me ?" Likewise, " blessed art thou among women," 
etc. This also the maiden in the Gospel proves to us, who cries : 
" Blessed is the body which has borne thee, and blessed the breasts 
which thou hast sucked." [Interruption by Zwingli : We are not 
asking concerning the holiness and dignity of Mary, but concern- 
ing invocation and intercession.] We also sing daily : Sentiunt 
omnes tuum levamen. " All feel thy aid who honor thy mem- 
ory. "* But since my talk is held to be useless and foolish I 
will rather keep still. 

Thus the vicar kept still and sat down, and then Doctor Martin 
from Tubingen arose, and spoke thus concerning these matters : 

Dear Sirs : Much has been said here against the usage and 
ordinance of the Christian churches which has been decreed and 
ordered by holy councils and fathers assembled in the name of 
the Holy Ghost, which, moreover, long has been held without 
fault as a praised custom and long usage. To oppose and to 
object to it is a sacrilegious deed, for what has been decreed and 
resolved by the holy councils and fathers, namely, by the four 
councils, should be obeyed in Christian churches like the Gospel, 
as we have written in Diss. XV. For the Church assembled in 
council in the name of the Holy Ghost cannot err. Therefore 
it behooves no one to speak against their decrees and ordinances, 
as Christ bears witness in the holy Gospel when he says : Qui 
vos audit, me audit. " He that heareth you heareth me, and he 
that despiseth you despiseth me." Thus Christ speaks to his 
disciples and those who in place of the twelve apostles (as bishop 
and pope) govern the Christian churches ; as then the Roman 

* [" Show us that in the Scriptures; the rest is human nonsense." (Bull- 


Church is now since many centuries the mother of all others, 
which is confirmed b/ words of Christ, Matt. xvi. 18, 19, as this 
is explained in Diss. X. and XII., cap. in nova et cap. quamvis. 
Concerning this there is here talked and quarreled against the 
invocation of the dear saints, just as if such honest and divine 
usage followed in Christendom many centuries were not founded 
upon the Scriptures, although St. Jerome in "Ad Jovianum " 
writes much concerning the intercession of the saints, and that 
this is advantageous to us he proves from the hopeful Scriptures. 
That we also receive true report concerning this from the canon 
of the holy mass, introduced by the old popes and bishops, and 
composed by Gregory and sung in all Christendom, proves that 
the intercession and invocation of the dear saints and the Virgin 
Mary is not considered useless. We also see this in our daily 
experience of miracles which occur everywhere. Consequently 
it seems wrong to me to consider and value such as useless and 
contrary to the Scriptures, etc. 


The good gentleman also intervenes and urges much in favor 
of the ordinances and usage of the Church, the fathers and 
councils gathered together and inspired by the Holy Ghost, and 
thinks one should not speak against them, etc. I say he will by 
no means prove that the councils have all been gathered in the 
name of the Holy Ghost for the purpose of all the ordinances 
which they made, since it has been proved before that they often 
have decreed contrarily, and have resolved upon, done and 
rescinded one thing to-day, to-morrow another, although the 
Holy Ghost is at all times alike, and does not oppose his decision 
once rendered. But when he says what has been decreed by 
councils and fathers is to be obeyed like the Gospels, I say what 
is as true as the Gospels and in accordance with the divine 
Spirit one is bound to obey, but not what is decreed in accord- 
ance with human reason. But as to what further than this is to 


be considered by pope or council as a mortal sin we do not think 
that we are in duty bound to treat that the same as the Gospels ; 
we wish to be free, not to burden our consciences with that. 
E. g., if pope or council commands us, at risk of mortal sin, to 
fast, or to eat no egg, no butter, no meat, which God has not 
ordered us to do, Luc. x. 7; Col. ii. 16, 21, but is permitted 
and made voluntary, therefore we will not believe that such and 
other ordinances decreed by the councils are decreed by the 
Holy Ghost, and to be respected equally with the Gospel. How 
does it happen that they wish to order us to eat no cheese, no 
eggs, no milk, but stinking oil, with which they scarcely oil their 
shoes at Rome, and otherwise eat chickens and capons? But 
if one says it is thus written in the canons and decreed by the 
fathers, I say it is written otherwise in Paul, and Christ has given 
another and easier law. Now do we owe more obedience to 
God or the Holy Ghost, or to human beings? Acts v. 32. But 
when he declares the Church has decreed such, she cannot err, 
I ask what is meant by "Church?" Does one mean the pope 
at Rome, with his tyrannical power and the pomp of cardinals 
and bishops greater than that of all emperors and princes? then 
I say that this Church has often gone wrong and erred, as every 
one knows, since it has destroyed the land and its inhabitants, 
burnt cities and ravaged the Christian people, butchering them 
for the sake of its earthly pomp, without doubt not on account 
of a command of Christ and his apostles. But there is another 
Church which the popes do not wish to recognize ; this one is 
no other than all right Christians, collected in the name of the 
Holy Ghost and by the will of God, which have placed a firm 
belief and an unhesitating hope in God, her spouse'. That 
Church does not reign according to the flesh powerfully upon 
earth, nor does it reign arbitrarily, but depends and rests only 
upon the word and will of God, does not seek temporal honor 
and to bring under its control much territory and many people 
and to rule other Christians. That Church cannot err. Cause : 


she does nothing according to her own will or what she thinks 
fit, but seeks only what the spirit of God demands, calls for and 
decrees. That is the right Church, the spotless bride of Jesus Christ 
governed and refreshed by the Spirit of God. But the Church 
which is praised so highly by the Papists errs so much and 
severely that even the heathens, Turks and Tartars know it well. 
But when he refers here to the words of Christ, Luke x. 16, 
" He that heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you 
despiseth me," and then refers this to pope, bishop, regents of 
the Roman churches, I say that such is not the meaning of Jesus 
Christ, that we should obey them in all things as they order. 
For Christ the Lord knew well that such great braggarts would 
sit upon the chair of Moses who would burden the necks of the 
poor with unbearable and heavy loads, which they themselves 
would not touch with a finger. Hence the saying, " He that 
heareth you heareth me," etc., will not serve for that for which 
the papists and sophists interpret it, but the right meaning is, as 
is also shown by what precedes and follows. When Christ sent 
his disciples to preach the Gospel in country and city he spake : 
" Go ye and preach,"' saying the kingdom of God is approaching, 
etc.. And later Christ said : " He that receiveth you receiveth 
me," as Matt. x. 40 says. This means they should preach His 
word and bring it to the people, but not human foolishness and 
law. For one serves the Lord in vain if one prefers human 
doctrine and decree. And may the good gentleman furthermore 
remember what Jerome writes in ad Jovinian concerning the 
invocation or intercession of the saints that he has not read 
correctly. For it is written ad Vigilantium; but how Jerome 
twists the Gospel in regard to invocation or intercession of the 
saints, as he does often in other places, that all know who read 
Jerome with good judgment.* Finally, in regard to the canon 

* ["Zwingli said that if he were only half a man, stood on one leg and 
closed one eye, he would nevertheless yield not to Jerome." (Faber.) 
"Thereupon Heinrich Wolf said 'such words were never heard from his lips, 


which is read in the mass, and in which invocation and interces- 
sion of the saints are referred to, I say one sees readily that the 
canon has not been made by one alone, but composed by several. 
For there are many useless words therein, as haec dona, haec 
munera, etc., from which may be inferred that it has not been 
made by one scholar. The apostles never celebrated mass thus ; 
one also finds that in several instances the custom of the canon 
is different from ours, which I shall point out and shortly prove, 
if God wills it. Concerning the miracles which are done by the 
saints we have spoken before. Who knows through whom or 
why God decrees this? * We should not attribute this so readily 
on account of our unbelief to the saints when we hesitate con- 
cerning Christ and run to those creatures for help. This all is 
proof of a weak faith and small hope in Jesus Christ, whom we 
do not rightly and entirely trust. Why do we flee from Him and 

yea never thought of during his lifetime.' To be sure, when you referred to 
Jerome in regard to the intercession of the saints, he said the argument which 
Jerome uses there has no basis in the Scriptures." (" Gyrenrupfen.")] 

*["You have omitted that Zwingli even spoke against the public Gos- 
pel: 'when one says that the saints accomplished miracles then the devil 
has done it.'" (Faber. ) "About the intercession of the saints he prom- 
ises a separate book: 'the whole heavenly host will be with me, without 
suppressing Christ, but rather let him be mediator.' Luchsinger answers: 
He (Faber) thinks because Zwingli said something about the wrong craze 
for miracles, therefore no one should remember that any more, and each one 
think perhaps something has been said about it; it doubtlessly was as Hans 
Heyerli (Faber) said. The matter is this: Hans Heyerli and D. Martin 
Blansch, of Tubingen, wished to prove the intercession of the saints by means 
of the miracles (which has all occurred now in a roundabout manner, for as 
every one knows they have attacked no article). Yes, the saints have done 
miracles. Zwingli answered : Miracles are not a sign of divinity, as Christ 
himself declares, Matt. vii. 22, but where real miracles do occur through the 
saints God does them himself, never the saints, as St. Peter speaks in the Acts 
iii. But there occur many miracles by the aid of the devil, so Matt. xxiv. 24 : 
He also accomplishes miracles, and changes himself into the shape of an angel of 
light. Thus Zwingli spoke, and that fool distorts it thus." (" Gyrenrupfen.")] 


seek aid from the saints, especially as we do not recognize 
certainly from the Scriptures that they are our intercessors? 

After this Dr. Sebastian,* from Schaffhausen, a member of the 
order of the Barefoot Monks, arose and began to admonish the 
assembled council that they should manage and protect the 
evangelical doctrine as until now, since there was no one there 
who could bring forward, upon frequent requests, anything more 
definite from the Scriptures. But he could not finish ; the vicar 
interrupted and said : 

Dr. Sebastian, you should keep still and not speak thus. You 
know well what you promised my gracious master ; it does not 
behoove a man to be so vacillating, to be moved like a reed by 
the wind ; you had not promised that before. 

Answered the aforesaid Dr. Sebastian : Dear gentlemen, what 
I have promised the bishop that I have faithfully and honorably 
kept, but his people have not fulfilled and carried out what they 
promised to me ; that you may testify what I have said here in 

After this speech there arose anothei doctor, lector and 
preacher from Bern, of the order of the Barefoot Monks, f and 
admonished the wise council of Zurich, speaking as follows : 

Honorable, careful, wise, gracious, favorable gentlemen of 
Zurich, your intention and opinion, published in all places by 
means of open letter for the aid of the Gospel, pleases me well, 
and praised be God that you are the people to further and not 
to obstruct the word of God, and pray God that He will not turn 
away and cause your wisdom to desert from such a godly under- 

* Dr. Sebastian Hofmeister. 

t Sebastian Meyer, born at Neuenburg on the Rhine, in Elsass, twenty miles 
north of Basel, 1465; studied at Basel and in Germany; became D. D. ; en- 
tered the Franciscan order; taught in monasteries in Strassburg and Bern; was 
a rather violent friend of the Reformation. He accepted Lutheran views on 
the Eucharist, and died in Strassburg, 1545, after preaching in Bern and Augs- 
burg as well as there. 


taking, and that He will give and lend you power and might, 
strength and comfort, that you will be frightened by no temporal 
power, whether of pope, bishop or emperor, but so act in these 
matters that it will redound to God in the future and your eternal 
praise. And do not mind that you are a small body and few. I 
do not say this to scorn you, but I mean it thus, that you are not 
equal to a whole kingdom and are considered too few to struggle 
against so many nations. Remember that God has always by 
means of the smallest and weakest caused His divine word and 
will to appear in the world, keeping the same hidden from the 
great sages of this world. Therefore fear not those who can 
injure the body ; they cannot harm the soul. Do not mind that 
there are now opposed to the truth of the Gospel bishop, pope 
and sophists. Thus is it considered by God to make the wise of 
this world ignorant, and cause the truth to be made clear by 
the simple. Therefore I beg your wisdom to remain steadfast in 
the word of God, which I shall also faithfully report to my lords 
of Bern, whose preacher I am, not in the cathedral, but a lector 
of the order of Barefoot Monks, and I shall sing your honor and 
praise. Then he sat down again. 

After this the mayor of Zurich again exhorts if any one wishes 
to say more in regard to these matters he should do it. My 
lords, he says, are tired of sitting. It will also soon be time to 

Then arose a canon of Zurich, by name Master Jacob Edli- 
bach, and spoke thus : 

Now listen, dear sirs: My good friend and brother, Master 
Ulrich, has before exhorted, in the name of Christian love, all 
those who have anything against him to speak. Now I have 
had a dispute with him concerning several matters and sayings, 
but the same was finally brought by both of us before the chapter, 
where it was settled, so that I thought it was over and should be 
referred to by no one any more. But now, since Master Ulrich 
has exhorted those who have spoken against him so frequently to 


step forth in the name of God, I have thought he may mean me 
also. Hence I say if Master Ulrich desires that that which was 
treated of between me and him remain in the knowledge of my 
lords of the chapter I am satisfied, and shall refer to it no more. 
For the matter is bad and worthless ; also I know naught con- 
cerning Master Ulrich, except as a good friend and brother of 
the chapter. But in so far as he does not wish this, and urges 
me on, then I shall bring it before you gentlemen. For there 
are some behind there inciting and saying in scorn one dare not 


Dear sirs : I had earnestly resolved to call all those here three 
times by name who have accused me of being a heretic and the 
like, but I had really forgotten it now, and furthermore I would 
never have thought of the good gentleman, Mastei Jacob 
Edlibach. It is simply this, I did treat with him concerning a 
matter before the prior and chapter, which I did not think 
necessary to bring, indeed would never have thought of bringing 
forward here. But since he himself, uncalled for, arises and 
desires to refer to and settle the matter here, I am well satisfied. 


It is of no consequence. I came to Master Ulrich's house 
and he satisfied me, and although not entirely, still I am satisfied. 
I know nothing concerning him, except all good. I consider 
him a good gentleman and brother, hence if he wishes to leave 
matters as they have been settled before the prior and chapter, I 
am entirely content. 


You may well refer to it here ; I am well satisfied, and I had 
rather have it before these gentlemen, since you yourself 
reported it. 

But there were several there, perhaps relatives of the afore- 
said Master Jacob, who said and thought that Master Ulrich 


ought to act more politely, since one had scarcely incited Master 
Jacob to speak. 

To this Master Ulrich answered that he had never thought of 
the said Master Jacob, nor would it have occurred to him that 
he should speak concerning this, etc. 

Thus there arose a dispute ; some of the councilors wanted the 
matter to be settled before the chapter, since it had been com- 
menced there ; the others thought that it should be tried in the 
presence of the scholars and gentlemen ; but finally the matter 
was no more thought of and thus quieted, perhaps left to the 
chapter and thus remained unreferred to. This I report 
(although not serving much to the purpose) that I may not be 
accused of not understanding and refuting all speeches and op- 
position which occurred at that time.* 

["How could you say truthfully that you have reported and under- 
stood all speeches and rebuttals, when I show to you that you have wronged 
not only me, but others, also Zwingli. You have omitted from my state- 
ments two quotations, with their additions, Matt, xxviii. 20: 'I am with 
you,' etc., and John xiv. 16: 'I will pray the Father, and he shall give 
you another Comforter,' etc. Do you know now what I said thereupon? 
Since the appealing to the saints has gone on, also the mass has been held as 
a sacrifice throughout the whole of Christendom, not only now for a thousand, 
but for thirteen and fourteen hundred years, and if it were not true or right- 
eous, then Christ would have wickedly forgotten us and the eternal truth; yes, 
he would have badly kept his word. But he has said: Behold this is a mys- 
tery; nor has he also said: Only after 1000 or 1200 years shall I first come 
again to my bride the churches. He said : Every day unto the end of the 
world. And although we did not heed these words of Christ, regardless of the 
fact that his words are everlasting, according to Isaiah, and he alone is the 
truth, and furthermore cannot lie, according to St. Paul, and he is the one 
whom St. John calls the faithful and true, and sooner will heaven and earth 
perish rather than his words, still we would have the other promise of the 
Holy Ghost, who, it has been promised, will remain with us unto eternity. 
Hence I do not in great affairs carelessly leave or desert from the Church, but 
I entrust that rather to Christ. Now what I report has been kept by the 
Church for so many centuries, hence I would be very careful, since the two 
things in regard to the saints and the mass are not contrary to the Gospel, and 


Aftei this the mayor of Zurich permitted every one who did 
not belong to the council to go to his lodging and dine, until 
further request, for it was now approaching noon. But the 
councilors the aforesaid mayor ordered to remain, perhaps to 
consult further concerning this.* Thus they arose, and many of 
the strangers went to their lodging. This much was done in the 

After all had eaten they were told to appear again in the city 
hall to hear the decision made by the wise council of Zurich.t 

After all had gathered, there was publicly read before the 
council as is written hereafter : 

When in the name of the Lord and upon the request of the 
mayor, council and great council of the city of Zurich, and for 
the reasons contained in the letters sent to you, you had 
obediently appeared, etc., and when again a year having passed 
since the honorable embassy of our gracious Lord of Constance, on 
account of such matters as you have heard to-day, was here in 
the city of Zurich before the mayor, small and great councils, 
and when these matters having been discussed in various fashions 

I also can prove it with the Scriptures, and thus I feel like the honest old 
peasants: when one wishes to abolish their old traditions and praiseworthy 
usages, which are not contrary to God, they do not like to obey and allow it. 
And thus I feel in regard to the said sayings, I trust to Christ and God and the 
Holy Ghost that thus far they have not deserted us, and I say also agree with 
St. Jerome, that in regard to these matters I shall rightly hold to the faith 
which I have received from the maternal breast. Although the doctrine of 
yourself and your brethren would be very acceptable to me, for I would not be 
allowed to pray, fast or do other good works, but if I did them I should com- 
mit a sin, therefore I would probably go to heaven. But since perchance I 
cannot ask much, therefore I do not wish to lose the intercession of the saints, 
and especially of the Virgin Mary." (Faber.)] 

* [" Bullinger puts here the word of the mayor: And the sword with which 
he from Fislisbach was murdered does not wish to appear to fight."] 

t[" Which has been decided upon in accordance with the debate held." 
(Bullinger.) ] 


it was reported that our gracious Lord of Constance was about 
to call together the scholars in his bishopric, also the preachers 
of the neighboring bishoprics and parishes, to advise, help and 
treat with them, so that a unanimous decision might be reached 
and each one would know what to rely on, but since until now 
by our gracious Lord of Constance, perhaps from good reasons, 
not much has been done in this matter, and since more and 
more disputes are arising among ecclesiasts and laymen, therefore 
once more the mayor, council and great council of the city of 
Zurich, in the name of God, for the sake of peace and Christian 
unanimity, have fixed this day, and for the advantage of the 
praiseworthy embassy of our gracious Lord of Constance (for 
which they gave their gracious, high and careful thanks) have 
also for this purpose by means of open letter, as stated above, 
written, called and sent for all secular clergy, preachers and 
spiritual guides, together and individually, from all their counties 
into their city, in order that in the examination they might con- 
front with each other those mutually accusing each other of 
being heretics. But since Master Ulrich Zwingli, canon and 
preacher of the Great Minster in the city of Zurich, has been 
formerly much talked against and blamed for his teachings, yet 
no one, upon his declaring and explaining his Articles, has arisen 
against him or attempted to overcome him by means of the 
Scriptures, and when he has several times also called upon those 
who have accused him of being a heretic to step forward, and 
no one showed in the least heresy in his doctrines, thereupon 
the aforesaid mayor, council and great council of this city of 
Zurich, in order to quell disturbance and dispute, upon due 
deliberation and consultation have decided, resolved, and it is 
their earnest opinion, that Master Ulrich Zwingli continue and 
keep on as before to proclaim the holy Gospel and the correct 
divine Scriptures with the spirit of God in accordance with his 
capabilities so long and so frequently until something better is 
made known to him. Furthermore, all your secular clergy, 


spiritual guides and preachers in your cities and counties and 
estates shall undertake and preach nothing except what they can 
defend by the Gospels and other right divine Scriptures; 
furthermore, they shall in no wise in the future slander, call each 
other heretic or insult in such manner. Those which seem 
contrary and do not obey will be restrained in such manner that 
they must see and discover that they have committed wrong. 
Done the Thursday after Carolus, in the city of Zurich, on the 
2 Qth day of January, in the year 1523. 

Thereupon Master Ulrich Zwingli arose and spoke thus : * God 
be praised and thanked whose divine word will reign in heaven 
and upon earth. And you, my lords of Zurich, the eternal God 
doubtlessly will also in other affairs lend strength and might, so 
that you may in future advance and preach the truth of God, 
the divine Gospel, in your country. Do not doubt that Almighty 
God will make it good and reward you in other matters. Amen. 

Whether this decision having been read pleased the vicar of 
Constance or not I really don't know, for he spoke thus:f 
Dear gentlemen, much has been spoken to-day against the 
praiseworthy old traditions, usage and ordinance of the holy 
popes and fathers, whose ordinances and decrees have until now 
been held in all Christendom true, just and sinless.} To pro- 

* [" Zwingli spoke with great joy after the aforesaid decision had been 
read." (Bullinger.)] 

t ["And first here the vicar became angry, saying: My dear gentlemen, I 
read to-day Master Ulrich's Articles for the first lime, which before I had had 
no time to glance over." (Bullinger.)] 

["'You know that it is true that before I or all priests had come to 
Zurich no one knew your word, whereon the dispute was based, and I teH 
you that I would have thought sooner of death than that there should 
be a debate at Ziirich concerning the intercession of the saints. Hence 
you probably marked well that I said I thought I had come to Zurich, but 
I see I am in Picardy, and this saying I explained to be from the here- 


tect and maintain this I have offered myself to the high councils. 
But now when for the first time to-day I have looked and glanced 
through the Articles of Master Ulrich (for I have not read them 
before), it seems to me truly that these are wholly and entirely 
at variance with and opposing the ritual (*'. e., opposed to the 
praiseworthy splendor and glory of the churches done and 
decreed for the praise and honor of God), to the loss of the 
divine teaching of Christ. This I shall prove. 

Sir Vicar, do it. We would like to hear that very much. 


It is written, Luke ix. 50 : Qui non est adversum vos, etc. 
" He that is not against us is for us." Now these praiseworthy 
services or splendor of the churches (like fasting, confession, 
having festival days, singing, reading, consecrating,* reading mass 
and other similar things) have always been decreed and ordered 
by the holy fathers, not against God, but only for the praise and 

tic Picard.t Hence although I was not prepared nor thought about the matter, 
still I desired to argue concerning it, and show wherewith I had proved the im- 
prisoned priest to be in error whom you wished to make a bishop, so that you 
also might fall into the Arian heresy.' (Faber.) And before he said : ' Master 
Ulrich had published the 67 articles only a day before this session, and before 
any one at Constance or any other city knew a word of it, and Master Ulrich also 
admitted it may perchance have been issued too late.' Werner Steiner remarks 
in writing: 'These (the Articles) were handed to him by the pastor of Frauen- 
feld I on the journey hither, about 2 or 3 days ago.' "] 

* [From the saying of Luke ix. not six words have been quoted. (" Gyrn- 

t Picard, the founder of an heretical sect of the Manichean order, the Picard- 
ists, in the I5th century. The customary charge of immorality was brought 
against them. It spread from its home in Picardy to France and Germany, 
finally to Bohemia, where it was ruthlessly suppressed by the great Hussite 
leader, Ziska, in 1421. 

J Twenty-one miles northeast of Zurich . 


honor of God Almighty, and it seems very strange and unjust to 
me to consider and refute them as though wrong. 


When my Sir Vicar speaks and quotes from the Gospel, " He 
that is not against us is for us," I say that is true. " Now the 
customs and ordinances of the Church are ordered and decreed 
by men, not against God," etc. Sir Vicar, prove that. For 
Christ always despises human ordinance and decree, as we have 
in Matt. xv. 1-9. When the Jews and Pharisees blamed and 
attacked the Lord because his disciples did not obey the doc- 
trine and ordinance of the ancients Christ said to them : " Why 
do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradi- 
tion?" etc. And the Lord spoke further: "Ye hypocrites, well 
did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh 
unto me with their mouth and knoweth me with their lips, but 
their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, 
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." One sees 
here that God does not desire our decree and doctrine when 
they do not originate with Him, despises them, and says we 
serve Him in vain, which also St. Paul shows to us when he 
writes thus : Dear brethren, let no man beguile you by human 
wisdom and deceit, in accordance with the doctrine or decree 
of men, in accordance with the doctrines of this world, and not 
those of Christ. " Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or 
in drink, or in respect of a holiday, or of a new moon, or of the 
Sabbath days. Which are a shadow of things to come," etc. 
Col. ii. 1 6 ff. God wants from us His decree, His will alone, 
not our opinion. God the Lord cares more for obedience to 
His word (although they use the word " obedience " for human 
obedience) than for all our sacrifices and self-created church 
usages, as we have it in all the divine writings of the prophets, 
twelve apostles and saints. The greatest and correct honor to 
show to God is to obey His word, to live according to His will, 
not according to our ordinances and best opinion. 



Christ said, according to John xvi. 12 : "I have yet many 
things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit 
when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all 
truth." Much has been inaugurated by the holy fathers inspired 
by the Holy Ghost, and especially the fasts and the Saturday by 
the twelve apostles, which also is not described in the Gospel, in 
which doubtlessly the Holy Ghost taught and instructed them.* 


Sir Vicar, prove from the Scriptures that the twelve apostles 
have inaugurated Saturday and fasts. Christ said in the afore- 
said place the Spirit of God will teach them all truth, without 
doubt not human weaknesses. For he spoke according to John 
xiv. 26: "The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my 
name, he shall teach you (the twelve apostles are meant) all 
things, and biing all things to your remembrance (advise and 
recall) whatsoever I have said unto you." As if he said un- 
doubtedly, not what you think fit, but what the Holy Ghost 
teaches you in my name in accordance with the truth, not with 
human thoughts. Now then the holy apostles have never taught, 
inaugurated, ordered and decreed otherwise than as Christ had 
told them in the Gospel. For Chiist said to them, ye are my 
friends if ye do that which I have decreed and commanded. 
This the dear disciples diligently did, and did not teach otherwise 
than as the right Master had sent them to teach and instruct 
which is proven by the epistles of St. Paul and St. Peter. Hence 
your arguments cannot avail anything. For that I can say truly 
that I could name more than sixty in this room from among my 

* ["Also the saying John xvi. 12 I did not refer to, for I knew the verse 
did not belong here; just as little did I say about fasting Saturdays." (Faber.) 
Hereupon Heinrich Wolf maintains he referred to the quotation from John xvi. : 
Christ still had many things to say to the disciples, but they could not bear it 
now, and Zwingli answered him, and showed how he had distorted the word 
of Christ. (' Gyrenrupfen.")] 


lords, laymen not learned in the Scriptures, who all could refute 
your argument as presented until now, and by means of the 
Gospel overcome and refute. 


Very well, Master Ulrich, do you admit that, that one should 
only keep what is writ in the Gospel, and nothing besides? Do 
you admit that? 


Sir Vicar, I pity you that you present such sophistical, hair- 
splitting or useless arguments. Perhaps I could also indulge in 
such devices, perchance I have also read it formerly in the 
sophists, hence I do not wish to be entrapped by such subter- 
fuges and tricks. I shall answer and argue with the pure Scrip- 
tures, saying there it is written. That is befitting a scholar, to 
defend his cause by the Scriptures. 


You have read in St. Paul that he accepted and taught tradi- 
tions which formerly were not written in the Gospel.* [Zwingli 

*["That I said and say still, that we are bound to hold many things 
that are not openly written, but which the Church holds and we believe, 
and furthermore have been reported by the teachers of the first churches 
as having come to us by order of the 12 apostles; thus I wished to prove 
that the forty days' fast, also the Sunday which in the Apocalypse St. 
John calls 'diem dominicam,' was decreed by the 12 disciples; if we do not 
wish to despise, depose or suppress them, then it is fitting that what so many 
centuries by Christendom generally, also by the heretics, has been held we 
should also keep, even if it be not openly printed in the Scriptures." Further- 
more he remarks: " It is a harmful error not to admit anything unless it be 
expressly described in the Scriptures. The Sadduceans also denied the resur- 
rection because it was not expressed in the Scriptures. I praise you all that 
you preach the Gospel and St. Paul, for that is the right rock. But what we 
have also from the time of the 12 apostles you should not cast so carelessly 
aside. If your speech were true we would be obliged to leave the ' symbolo 
apostolorum,' the 'homoousio,' yes from the persons in the Godhead, from 
free will; we no more could believe that Anna was the mother of Mary," etc. 


interrupts : That we wish to hear.] For when he inaugurated 
among the Corinthians the custom of the sacrament as he had 
received it from the Lord he said among other things : Cetera, 
cum venero, disponam. i Cor. xi. 34. "And the rest will I set 
in order when I come." There St. Paul announces that he will 
further teach them to honor and to use the sacrament. But 
that such was true, and that the twelve apostles gave instruc- 
tions, presenting them as traditions which were not decreed by 
the Gospel, I shall prove from St. Paul to. the Thessalonians. 
Master Ulrich interrupts, asking: Where is it written? The 
vicar answers : You will find it in the second chapter. Zwingli 
says : We will look at it. But it is not there ; we will look for 
it in the last epistle. But very well, continue. The vicar 
answers : Thus says St. Paul : Nos autem debemus gratias agere, 
etc. 2 Thess. ii. 13-15. "But we are bound to give thanks 
always to God of you, brethren beloved, etc., because God hath 
chosen you to salvation, etc., through belief of the truth, where- 
unto he called you by our gospel, etc. Therefore, brethren, 
stand fast and hold the traditions (/. e., teachings) which ye 
have been taught, whether by our word or our epistle." [Here 
Master Ulrich said : He is misusing the Scriptures : I shall prove 
it.] Saint Paul says here that one should stand fast and hold 
the traditions, whether emanating from his words or his epistle. 
This is proof that he taught and instructed that which formerly 
had not been written, but clearly and openly invented. 


In the first place, when he says St. Paul gave traditions to the 
people of Corinth which before had not been decreed, I say no, 
for he says in the same place : " For I have received of the Lord 
that which also I delivered unto you." But when he says : 
"And the rest will I set in order when I come," it does not mean 
what the vicar says ; on the contrary he is punishing the Corin- 
thians on account of misuse and mistake in the taking and use 


of the divine sacrament. For of the wealthy, who assembled in 
the churches for the sacrament, some overate themselves and 
became satiated, while the other poor people, at times hungry, 
had nothing to eat. This is what St. Paul complains of when 
he writes : What ! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in ? as 
if he were saying the sacrament is not for the necessity of the 
body, but as a food for the souls. Therefore St. Paul concludes : 
"And the rest will I set in order when I come." Not that he 
wishes to teach otherwise than as Christ has ordered him, but 
in order to stop and better their misuse does he say this, which 
the Word shows : Tradidi vobis, etc. 

Secondly, since Sir Vicar pretends that human ordinance and 
teaching are to be held, this also is not written in the Gospel ; 
he refers to St. Paul to the Thessalonians, where he writes : 
" Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which 
ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle." I say 
Paul did not speak, teach, write or instruct in anything except 
what the Lord had ordered him. For he testifies everywhere, 
and also proves it to be true, to have written or preached naught 
except the Gospel of Christ, which God had promised before in 
the Scriptures of His Son through the prophets.* 


Master Ulrich, you said in your Articles that the mass is 
no offering. Now I shall prove that for 1400 years "missal" 
has been considered a sacrifice and called an offering. For 
" missa " is a Hebrew word, known by us as sacrifice, and also 
the apostles were known as " missam sacrificium." 

Zwingli : Sir Vicar, prove that. Vicar : To-day I spoke as a 
Vicar; now I speak as a John. Zwingli: Yes indeed; had 
you long before to-day taken off your vicar's hat it would have 
suited you well at times to-day; then one could have spoken 

* ["And the traditions do not disagree with the Scriptures, so that when 
the apostles wrote one thing another was opposed to it." (Bullinger.)] 


with you as with a John.* I say that you should prove from 
the Scriptures that the mass is a sacrifice, for, as St. Paul says, 
Heb. ix. 12, 25, 26, Christ not more than once was sacrificed, 
not by other blood, but " by his own blood he entered once into 
the holy place," etc., nor yet that he should offer himself often, 
as the high priests in the Old Testament had to do for the sin of 
the people, for then must Christ often have suffered. Likewise, 
St. Paul writes, Heb. x. 12, 14, "But this man after he had 
offered one sacrifice forever sat down on the right hand of God." 
Likewise, " For by one offering he hath perfected forever them 
that are sanctified." Likewise, By so much does this sacrifice 
surpass the sacrifices in the Old Testament fulfilled by the high 
priest, by so much more powerful is this declared to be that it 
was sufficient once for the sins of all people. Heb. vii. 2227. 
Who is so unreasonable as not to note that Christ must never be 
sacrificed in the mass as a sacrifice for us when he hears that the 

* [Hans Hab remarks: " Faber attacked the Articles severely, but could 
not prove that they are unchristian. It happened thus, when after din- 
ner the decision was read: Just like the peasant boys, you first began in 
earnest after the matter was closed, and even then you did not wish to 
attack any Article, to make it unchristian by means of the Scriptures, as 
you attacked them, but you raised the Articles in your own hand and said : 
Now I do not wish to speak as a vicar, but as a John, and I say, Master Ulrich, 
that your Articles are not like unto the truth, and are not based upon the Gos- 
pel and the writings of the apostles." Zwingli answered: " Sir Vicar, if you 
had taken off your hat long ago one could have treated about something. But 
in answer to your speech I spoke thus : You shall prove your wicked speech 
with the deed, and do well and attack only one Article, so that we may not let 
this day pass by uselessly, for so well are these Articles founded that heaven 
and earth must break sooner than one of these Articles. Upon this you an- 
swered, as always before, this was not the place to debate, but you wished to 
debate in writing and have judges. Thereupon Zwingli answered he was 
indifferent whether one noted down everything that was spoken, but he wanted 
no judge over the word of God, for the word of God should judge the people, 
and not the people the word of God. About that you teased Zwingli, whether 
he would not take those of Zurich as judges? Zwingli replied, no so much 
at this time, although much was still added thereto." ("Gyrenrupfen.")] 


Holy Ghost speaks from the Scriptures, For not more than once 
(semel) by one offering he entered into the holy place ; otherwise 
he must die often? Now matters have come to such a state that 
the papists have made out of the mass a sacrifice for the living 
and dead, contrary to the joyful Scriptures of God ; they wish to 
protect this also, so that they may defend their name of scholar 
or their avarice. We also know well that " missa " does not 
come from Hebrew or Greek ; but you present nothing from the 


I will do that and prove it before the universities, where learned 
judges sit. And choose a place, be it Paris, Cologne or Freiburg, 
whichever you please ; then I shall overthrow the Articles pre- 
sented by you and prove them to be wrong. 


I am ready, wherever you wish, as also to-day I offered to give 
answer at Constance, if a safe conduct (as to you here) is prom- 
ised to me and respected. But no judge I want, except the 
Scriptures, as they have been said and spoken by the Spirit 
of God ; no human being, whichsoever it be ; and before you 
overthrow one Article the earth must be overthrown, for they are 
the Word of God. 


This is a queer affair. When, e. g., two are quarreling about 
an acre or about a meadow, they are sent before a judge. Him 
they also accept, and you refuse to allow these matters to come 
before a judge. How would this be if I should propose that you 
take my lords of Zurich as judges? Would you not accept 
these and allow them to judge? 


In worldly affairs and in quarrels I know well that one should 
go before the judges with the disputes, and I also would choose 
and have as judges my lords of Zurich, since they possess justice. 


But in these matters, which pertain to divine wisdom and truth, 
I will accept no one as judge and witness except the Scriptures, 
the Spirit of God speaking from the Scriptures. 


How would it be if you chose a judge and I also one, both 
impartial, be it here or somewhere else, would you not be satisfied 
what these two recognized and pronounced as true sentence? 

Hereupon Sir Fritz von Anwyl, major-domo of the bishop of 
Constance, spoke : 

Must we then all believe as those two, and not hold otherwise? 

Hereupon there was a laugh, so that the vicar became silent 
and answered nothing. But when it had again become quiet the 
vicar spoke thus : 

Christ in the Gospel * says, Matt, xxviii. 20, He will remain 
with us even unto the end of the world. In another place [Matt.], 
xxvi. ii, he says : " For ye have the poor always with you ; but 
me ye have not always." Now if there were no one who decided 
concerning these sayings, who could know how one should grasp 
these two sayings thus opposed to each other? One must then 
have a judge. 


The Spirit of God decided itself from the Scriptures that the 
Lord is speaking of two kinds of presences, of the corporal and 
the spiritual. The Scripture speaks evidently of the corporal 
presence or bodily attendance of Christ, and declares that Christ 
died, was buried, arose on the third day, and having ascended to 
the heavens sits on the right of his Father. Hence one notices 
readily from the Scriptures how one shall understand that when 
the Lord says : " Me ye have not always." In the same fashion, 
when He says He will remain with us even unto the end of the 
world, the Scriptures teach that Christ is the word of God, the 
wisdom, the will of his heavenly Father, the truth, the way, the 

* [" I shall not be with you always, and then." (Bullinger.)] 


light, the life of all believers. Therefore one evidently sees that 
spiritually he remains with us unto the end of the world. Hence 
one needs no other judge besides the divine Scriptures ; the only 
trouble is that we do not search and read them with entire earn- 

Thereupon Dr. Martin of Tubingen speaks, saying : 
You interpret the Scriptures thus according to your judgment, 
another interprets them another way ; hence there must always 
be people who decide these things and declare the correct mean- 
ing of the Scriptures, as this is symbolized by the wheels of Eze- 


I do not understand the Scriptures differently than it is inter- 
preted by means of the Spirit of God ; there is no need of human 
judgment.f We know that the ordinance of God is spiritual, 
Rom. vii. 14, and is not to be explained by the reasoning of man 
in the flesh. For the corporal man in the flesh does not under- 
stand the things which are of the Spirit of God. i Cor. ii. 14. 
Therefore I do not wish to have or accept a man as judge of the 


Arius and Sabelius would still walk on earth or rule if the 
matters had not been brought before judges. 

I shall do as the fathers, who also conquered by means of the 

* ["In regard to the quotation from Matt, xxviii. 20, Zwingli gave you 
( Faber) the following answer : It is true that Christ has promised to remain 
with us to the end of the world. That he also keeps his promise faithfully, 
ye pious brethren in Jesus Christ, you should have no doubt. God is with us 
probably as with no council. For we keep His word, and seek the truth from 
his word alone. Those who do that, God is with them." (Luchsinger in 
' ' Gyrenrupfen . " ) ] . 

t["The Scriptures decide themselves in the presence of men." (Bull- 


Scriptures, not by means of human understanding.* For when 
they were disputing with Arius they did not accept men, but the 
Scriptures, as judges, as one finds. When Arius said it is also 
proven by the Scriptures, as he thought, that the Son of God is 
less than the Father, John xiv. 28, the dear fathers sought the 
Scriptures, allowing them to judge, and showed that it was written, 
John x. 30, " I and my Father are one." Also, xiv. 9, 10, " He 
that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Believest thou not 
that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" Also, "The 
Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Such declara- 
tions of the Scriptures the dear fathers considered, and showed 
that Christ had two natures, human and divine, and proved by 
the Scriptures, not by the judgment of men, that the saying 
which Arius quoted, The Father is more than I, referred to the 
humanity of Christ and the later sayings spoke of the Godhead, 
as was shown by the Scriptures themselves, and the Scriptures 
interpreted the Scriptures, not the fathers the Scriptures. Thus. 
St. Augustine overcame the Arians, Manicheans, etc. ; Jerome the 
Jovians, Pelagians ; Cyprian his opponents and heretics, at the- 

* [" Did you not also hear that thereupon Zwingli answered : A council never' 
overcame a heretic except with the Scriptures, for it would have been useless if 
one had tried to overcome Arius in another fashion except by the Scripture. 
Hence he also stood there, demanding that one listen to the Scriptures in 
regard to all the Articles; these should be judges over him, and according to 
that he would allow all Christians to recognize not only several, but all, whether 
he had used the Scriptures rightly or not; and he asked who was judge between 
Hilary and Arians, between Jerome and Jovian, between Augustine and the 
Manicheans; with nothing besides the Scriptures they proved their cause, and 
thus allowed it to come before all people without a single judge. And what 
you attacked afterwards, just as if he had boasted of great abilities, that you 
invented. For Zwingli spoke of the rest who were there thus: There are in 
the hall probably men as learned in Hebrew, Greek and Latin as at Tubingen, 
Basel, Freiburg and elsewhere." (Hans Hab in " Gyrenrupfen.") He adds 
thereto: " Zurich has probably as many people learned in the three languages 
as he and his papists in a heap, and who understand the Scriptures better than 
those at Lyon and Paris."] 


same time with books referred to and Scriptures quoted, so that 
the Scriptures, and not they, were the judges. The Scriptures 
are so much the same everywhere, the Spirit of God flows so 
abundantly, walks in them so joyfully, that every diligent reader, 
in so far as he approaches with humble heart, ivill decide by 
means of the Scriptures, taught by the Spirit of God, until he 
attains the truth. For Christ whenever he argued with the 
learned Jews and Pharisees referred to the Scriptures, saying : 
"Search the Scriptures." John v. 39. Also, "What is written 
in the law." Luke x. 26, etc. Therefore I say the matter needs 
no human judge. But that at various times such matters gener- 
ally have been brought before human judges and universities is 
the reason that the priests no longer desired to study, and paid 
greater attention to wantonness, at times to chess, than reading 
the Bible. Hence it came about that one considered those 
scholars and chose them as judges who had attracted unto them- 
selves only the appearance or diploma of wisdom, who knew 
naught concerning the right Spirit of God or the Scriptures. But 
now through the grace of God the divine Gospel and Scriptures 
have been born and brought to light by means of print (especi- 
ally at Basel), so that they are in Latin and German, wherefrom 
every pious Christian who can read or knows Latin can easily 
inform himself and learn the will of God. This has been attained, 
God be praised, that now a priest who is diligent may learn and 
know as much in two or three years concerning the Scriptures as 
formerly many in ten or fifteen years. Therefore I wish all the 
priests who have benefices under my lords of Zurich or in their 
counties, and have them exhorted that each one is diligent 
and labors to read the Scriptures, and especially those who are 
preachers and caretakers of the soul, let each one buy a New 
Testament in Latin, or in German, if he does not understand the 
Latin or is unable to interpret it. For I also am not ashamed to 
read German at times, on account of easier presentation. Let 
one begin to read first the gospel of St. Matthew, especially the 


v., vi. and vii. chapters. After that let him read the other gospels, 
so that he may know what they write and say. After that he 
should take the Acts. After this the epistles of Paul, but first the 
one to the Galatians. Then the epistle of St. Peter and other 
divine texts; thus he can readily form within himself a light 
Christian life, and become more skillful to teach this better to 
others also. After that let him work in the Old Testament, in 
the prophets and other books of the Bible, which, I understand, 
are soon to appear in print in Latin and German. Let one buy 
such books, and never mind the sophistical and other empty 
writings, also the decree and work of the papists, tell and preach 
to the people the holy Gospel, written by the four evangelists 
and apostles, then the people will become more willing and skill- 
ful in leading a peaceful Christian life. For matters have reached 
such a state that also the laymen and women know more of the 
Scriptures than some priests and clergymen. 

Thereupon spoke a priest, decan of Glattfelden : 
Shall one then not read Gregory or Ambrose, or cite their 
writings in the pulpit, but only the Gospel? 


Yes, you may read them. And when you find something 
written therein which is like the Gospel or quoted from the 
Gospel, there is no need of using Gregory or Ambrose, but one 
first of all honors Christ and says, this the Gospel or Scriptures 
tell us. And this is not only my opinion, but Gregory or 
Ambrose is also of this opinion. For the dear fathers them- 
selves confirm their writings with the Gospel and Scriptures, and 
where they depeud upon their own thoughts they err readily an 

Another priest, by name Hans v. Schlieren, asks : 
But what shall he do who has a small benefice and not suffi 
cient wherewith he could buy such books, the Testament? I 
have a poor little benefice ; it is also necessary for me to speak. 



There is, if God wills, no priest so poor but he cannot buy a 
Testament, if he likes to learn. Somewhere he will find a pious 
citizen and other people who will buy him a Bible, or otherwise 
advance the money so that he can pay for one. 

After this the vicar began to speak roughly, saying : 

Very well, Master Ulrich. I say that your Articles, as these 
are noted down, are opposed to the Gospel and St. Paul, also not 
in harmony unto the truth. That I offer to prove in writing or 
orally, wherever you please. Choose for yourself judges for these 
matters, to render a decision therein, in whichever place suits 
you, then I shall prove to you in writing or orally that your 
Articles, which appeared in print, are untruthful and opposed to 
the Gospel. 


Do that, when and wherever you please, and the quicker and 
sooner the more agreeable and satisfactory it is to me. Write 
against my Articles or opinions whenever you wish, or argue 
against them wherever you please. Why don't you do it here, 
right now? Attack one of my opinions, since you say they are 
opposed to the Gospel and St. Paul ; try to prove them wrong 
and false. I say, Vicar, if you can do that, and prove one of my 
Articles false by means of the Gospel, I will give you a rabbit 
cheese. Now let's hear it. I shall await it. 


A rabbit cheese, what is that?* I need no cheese. All is 
also not written in the Gospel that is unrighteous and opposed 
to Christ ; f where do you find in the Gospel that one shall not 
have his daughter or his sister's daughter to wife? 

* "A rabbit cheese " is Swiss for a remarkably fine cheese. Glarus, where 
Zwinglt was settled for ten years (15061516), was then and is still noted for 
its cheeses. 

t ["Where did I speak an unfit, immodest or worthless word, as Zwingli 



It is also not written that a cardinal shall have thirty benefices. 

Master Erasmus v. Stein, canon at Zurich, said : It is written 
in Leviticus, and is forbidden. Answers the vicar, saying : 
Erasmus, you will not find it, although you search long for it. 
One could still live a friendly, peaceful and virtuous life even if 
there were no Gospel.* 

always did with his ridiculing and other things, which for the sake of peace 
I shall not repeat?" (Faber.) Conrad Aescher answers: " Zwingli has 
treated the matter with such earnestness that he could not have been 
more in earnest; to be sure he had to laugh with the rest when you 
came with your old tales, which we tailors and shoemakers had also learned 
long ago. But you act like all bad women, blame other people for what they 
do themselves. Nobody began his speeches with more ridiculing than you; 
why you smiled so friendly that we were . afraid that the stove of the room 
would become so attached to you that it would run after you. Zwingli has 
said nothing shameful or immodest, but you have, when you said, where is it 
forbidden in the Bible that a father may not marry his daughter? and when you 
said one could live righteously even without the Gospel," etc. (" Gyrenrupfen.'')] 
* ["At the end of your account you made the false statement that I said 
one might still live in a friendly, peaceful and virtuous way even if there 
were no Gospel. Do you think I am mad, and speak only in unchristian 
fashion thus? especially as before that I made such a speech in praise 
of the Gospel, and in my book against Martin Luther I praised so highly 
and emphasized the Gospel, etc.? And you dare to accuse me of these 
words which in my life I never thought of? Where were you sitting that 
you could hear what I said? While several were then speaking every one arose 
and went away, and no one sitting could have heard me. Do you wish to 
to know what in the hum of voices, as the people were getting up and leaving, 
I said? Thus I spoke: One may preach the Gospel and still keep the peace. 
Zwingli thought it could not be, so I declared it could be. Thus you misquote 
me. Did not the Gospel come with the peace and the peace with the Gospel? 
But you say only: God has not sent peace upon earth." (Faber.) Hans 
Hager answered him: "Why, how can you deny what one can witness and 
prove with so many true men, so that I offer to prove it before my lords of 
Zurich at whatever hour and moment you will? I do not say that it occurred 
at the end, because it did not occur at the end. It may also have happened 
to Erhard [Hegenwald] that he forgot it until the end. What does that 
matter? You said it, no matter when you said it. What does that matter, 
as long as you had to lie?" (Gyrenrupfen.)] 



You will find in Leviticus xviii. that relationship of marriage 
with collateral lines, and even further than the sisters, is forbidden- 
And if the distant and further removed member of the house or 
blood relationship is forbidden, then much more is the nearest 
forbidden and not allowed, as you may read in Lev. xviii. 17. I 
pity you that you come with such foolish or useless and thought- 
less remarks, and thus cause offense among the people. That is 
to give real scandal and vexation to your neighbor. You could 
have kept that silent and opposed me with other writings; it 
would have been more worthy of you. 

Now every one arose, and nothing more was said at that time ; 
every one went to where he had something to attend to.* 

It was also said by the mayor of Zurich, as is afterwards written : 
The sword, with which the pastor of Fislisbach, captured at 
Constance, was stabbed, does not wish to appear. The afore- 
said mayor remarks that the vicar had not yet shown any Scrip- 
ture with which he boasted to have overcome the aforesaid lord 
of Fislisbach. 

There also spoke the worthy Mr. R., abbot of Cappel,| saying : 
Where are they now who wish to burn us at the stake and bring 
wood; why do they not step forward now? 

That is the sum and substance of all actions and speeches at 
the assembly of Zurich, etc., before the assembled council, 
where also other doctors and gentlemen were present on account 
of the praiseworthy message of the bishop of Constance and 

* ["And were very tired of the irrelevant quotations and speeches of the 
Vicar." (Bullinger.)] 

t Wolfgang Roupli (or Joner), son of the mayor of Frauenfeld; became 
abbot 1521 ; accepted the Reformation and reformed his monastery. He called 
there Bullinger, who was Zwingl's successor, as teacher of the cloister school, 


Master Ulrich Zwingli, canon and preacher at the great cathedral 
of Zurich, which (assembly) occurred at the time and on the 
day, as stated above, in the year 1523, on the 2pth day of Janu- 


The articles and opinions below, I, Ulrich Zwingli, confess to 
have preached in the worthy city of Zurich as based upon the 
Scriptures which are called inspired by God, and I offer to 
protect and conquer with the said articles, and where I have not 
now correctly understood said Scriptures I shall allow myself to 
be taught better, but only from said Scriptures. 

I. All who say that the Gospel is invalid without the confirma- 
tion of the Church err and slander God. 

II. The sum and substance of the Gospel is that our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has made known to us the 
will of his heavenly Father, and has with his innocence released 
us from death and reconciled God. 

III. Hence Christ is the only way to salvation for all who ever 
were, are and shall be. 

IV. Who seeks or points out another door errs, yea, he is a 
murderer of souls and a thief. 

V. Hence all who consider other teachings equal to or higher 
than the Gospel err, and do not know what the Gospel is. 

VI. For Jesus Christ is the guide and leader, promised by God 
to all human beings, which promise was fulfilled. 

VII. That he is an eternal salvation and head of all believers, 
who are his body, but which is dead and can do nothing without 

VIII. From this follows first that all who dwell in the head 
are members and children of God, and that is the church or 
communion of the saints, the bride of Christ, Ecclesia catholica. 

IX. Furthermore, that as the members of the body can do 
nothing without the control of the head, so no one in the body 
of Christ can do the least without his head, Christ. 


X. As that man is mad whose limbs (try to) do something 
without his head, tearing, wounding, injuring himself ; thus when 
the members of Christ undertake something without their head, 
Christ, they are mad, and injure and burden themselves with un- 
wise ordinances. 

XI. Hence we see in the clerical (so-called) ordinances, con- 
cerning their splendor, riches, classes, titles, laws, a cause of all 
foolishness, for they do not also agree with the head. 

XII. Thus they still rage, not on account of the head (for that 
one is eager to bring forth in these times from the grace of God,) 
but because one will not let them rage, but tries to compel them 
to listen to the head. 

XIII. Where this (the head) is hearkened to one learns clearly 
and plainly the will of God, and man is attracted by his spirit to 
him and changed into him. 

XIV. Therefore all Christian people shall use their best 
diligence that the Gospel of Christ be preached alike everywhere. 

XV. For in the faith rests our salvation, and in unbelief our 
damnation ; for all truth is clear in him. 

XVI. In the Gospel one learns that human doctrines and de- 
crees do not aid in salvation. 


XVII. That Christ is the only eternal high priest, wherefrom it 
follows that those who have called themselves high priests have 
opposed the honor and power of Christ, yea, cast it out. 


XVIII. That Christ, having sacrificed himself once, is to eter- 
nity a certain and valid sacrifice for the sins of all faithful, where- 
from it follows that the mass is not a sacrifice, but is a remem- 
brance of the sacrifice and assurance of the salvation which Christ 
has given us. 

XIX. That Christ is the only mediator between God and us. 



XX. That God desires to give us all things in his name, 
whence it follows that outside of this life we need no mediator 
except himself. 

XXI. That when we pray for each other on earth, we do so in 
such fashion that we believe that all things are given to us 
through Christ alone/ 


XXII. That Christ is our justice, from which follows that our 
works in so far as they are good, so far they are of Christ, but in 
so far as they are ours, they are neither right nor good. 


XXIII. That Christ scorns the property and pomp of this 
world, whence from it follows that those who attract wealth to 
themselves in his name slander him terribly when they make him 
a pretext for their avarice and wilfullness. 


XXIV. That no Christian is bound to do those things which 
God has not decreed, therefore one may eat at all times all food, 
wherefrom one learns that the decree about cheese and butter is 
a Roman swindle. 


XXV. That time and place is under the jurisdiction of Chris- 
tian people, and man with them, wherefrom is learnt that those 
who fix time and place deprive the Christians of their liberty. 


XXVI. That God is displeased with nothing so much as with 
hypocrisy ; whence is learnt that all is gross hypocrisy and profli- 
gacy which is mere show before men. Under this condemnation 
fall hoods, insignia, plates, etc. 



XXVII. That all Christian men are brethren of Christ and 
brethren of one another, and shall create no father (for them- 
selves) on earth. Under this condemnation fall orders, sects, 
brotherhoods, etc. 


XXVIII. That all which God has allowed or not forbidden is 
righteous, hence marriage is permitted to all human beings. 

XXIX. That all who are called clericals sin when they do not 
protect themselves by marriage after they have become conscious 
that God has not enabled them to remain chaste. 


XXX. That those who promise chastity [outside of matrimony] 
take foolishly or childishly too much upon themselves, whence is 
learnt that those who make such vows do wrong to the pious 


XXXI. That no special person can impose the ban upon any 
one, but the Church, that is the congregation of those among 
whom the one to be banned dwells, together with their watch- 
man, /. <?., the pastor. 

XXXII. That one may ban only him who gives public offence. 


XXXIII. That property unrighteously acquired shall not be 
given to temples, monasteries, cathedrals, clergy or nuns, but to 
the needy, if it cannot be returned to the legal owner. 


XXXIV. The spiritual (so-called) power has no justification for 
its pomp in the teaching of Christ. 

XXXV. But the lay has power and confirmation from the 
deed and doctrine of Christ. 


XXXVI. All that the spiritual so-called state claims to have of 
power and protection belongs to the lay, if they wish to be 

XXXVII. To them, furthermore, all Christians owe obedience 
without exception. 

XXXVIII. In so far as they do not command that which is 
contrary to God. 

XXXIX. Therefore all their laws shall be in harmony with the 
divine will, so that they protect the oppressed, even if he does 
not complain. 

XL. They alone may put to death justly, also, only those who 
give public offence (if God is not offended let another thing be 

XLI. If they give good advice and help to those for whom they 
must account to God, then these owe to them bodily assistance. 

XLII. But if they are unfaithful and transgress the laws of 
Christ they may be deposed in the name of God. 

XLIII. In short, the realm of him is best and most stable who 
rules in the name of God alone, and his is worst and most un- 
stable who rules in accordance with his own will. 


XLIV. Real petitioners call to God in spirit and truly, without 
great ado before men. 

XLV. Hypocrites do their work so that they may be seen by 
men, also receive their reward in this life. 

XLVI. Hence it must always follow that church-song and out- 
cry without devoutness, and only for reward, is seeking either 
fame before the men or gain. 


XLVII. Bodily death a man should suffer before he offend or 
scandalize a Christian. 

XLVIII. Who through stupidness or ignorance is offended with- 


out cause, he should not be left sick or weak, but he should be 
made strong, that he may not consider as a sin which is not a sin. 
XLIX. Greater offence I know not than that one does not 
allow priests to have wives, but permits them to hire prostitutes. 
Out upon the shame ! 


L. God alone remits sin through Jesus Christ, his Son, and 
alone our Lord. 

LI. Who assigns this to creatures detracts from the honor of 
God and gives it to him who is not God ; this is real idolatry. 

LII. Hence the confession which is made to the priest or 
neighbor shall not be declared to be a remittance of sin, but only 
a seeking for advice. 

LIII. Works of penance coming from the counsel of human 
beings (except the ban) do not cancel sin; they are imposed as 
a menace to others. 

LIV. Christ has borne all our pains and labor. Hence who- 
ever assigns to works of penance what belongs to Christ errs and 
slanders God. 

LV. Whoever pretends to remit to a penitent being any sin 
would not be a vicar of God or St. Peter, but of the devil. 

LVI. Whoever remits any sin only for the sake of money is the 
companion of Simon and Balaam, and the real messenger of the 
devil personified. 


LVII. The true divine Scriptures know naught about purgatory 
after this life. 

LVIII. The sentence of the dead is known to God only. 

LIX. And the less God has let us know concerning it, the less 
we should undertake to know about it. 

LX. That man earnestly calls to God to show mercy to the 
dead I do not condemn, but to determine a period of time there- 


for (seven years for a mortal sin), and to lie for the sake of gain, 
is not human, but devilish. 


LXI. About the consecration which the priests have received 
in late times the Scriptures know nothing. 

LXII. Furthermore, they know no priests except those who 
proclaim the word of God. 

LXIII. They command honor should be shown, /. e., to furnish 
them with food for the body. 


LXIV. All those who recognize their errors shall not be allowed 
to suffer, but to die in peace, and thereafter arrange in a Chris- 
tian manner their bequests to the Church. 

LXV. Those who do not wish to confess, God will probably 
take care of. Hence no force shall be used against their body, 
unless it be that they behave so criminally that one cannot do 
without that. 

LXVI. All the clerical superiors shall at once settle down, and 
with unanimity set up the cross of Christ, not the money-chests, or 
they will perish, for I tell thee the ax is raised against the tree. 

LXVIL If any one wishes conversation with me concerning 
interest, tithes, unbaptized children or confirmation, I am willing 
to answer. 

Let no one undertake here to argue with sophistry or human 
foolishness, but come to the Scriptures to accept them as the judge 
(foras cares ! the Scriptures breathe the Spirit of God), so that 
the truth either may be found, or if found, as I hope, retained. 

Thus may God rule. 

The basis and commentary of these articles will soon appear 
in print. 



We, the Burgomaster, Council and the Great Council, which 
they call the Two Hundred, of the city of Zurich, offer to each 
and all people's priests, pastors, those who have the care of 
souls, and preachers, also to all over-governors, under-governors, 
officials and any others who have livings, homes or seats in our 
cities, counties, principalities, high and low courts and territories, 
our greeting, favorable and affectionate good wishes. I call yout 
attention to what each one of you has noticed and seen up to the 
present time, that many kinds of complaints and errors have 
arisen in matrimonial affairs. Since the parties have been sum- 
moned before the court at Constance or other foreign courts 
again and again, and have been judged at considerable cost; 
since they, at that place, and in cases where the people were 
well off in temporal goods, have been detained without judgment, 
and, as far as we know, to their own danger, etc., and in order 
that such great cost, trouble and labor among you men and 
women having business with each other with regard to matrimony, 
and who live and are at home in our territories, high and low 
courts, may be put aside, done away with and avoided, and also 
in order that each may be properly judged with promptness, thus 
we have ordained the following common ordinances concerning 
marriage, and have given notice of them, and have undertaken to 
practice them for a time, with the understanding that they are to 
be decreased, or increased, or entirely done away with. And if 
any parties come from our true and beloved confederates, from 
whatsoever place, who desire to seek and make use of law with 
regard to matrimony on account of the small cost among us, 
bringing each from his local authorities letters and seals testify- 

* Printed at Zurich by John Hager. Zwingli's Works, II., 2, 356-359. 
Translated from the original German by Prof. Lawrence A. McLouth. Bullinger 
expressly remarks that Zwingli was the author of the order of the canonical court. 


ing that such right may be extended to them, then they shall be 
accepted for the sake of especial friendship, and they shall be 
treated with regard to this law in every way as our own, but we 
shall not otherwise burden ourselves with any one dwelling out- 
side of the territories of the city of Zurich. 

And in order that such legal business may be attended to 
promptly, as necessity demands, we have chosen as judges six 
men, two from the people's priests in our city, who are taught 
in the Word of God, also two from the small, and two from the 
large council. Among these, each one shall serve two months as 
magistrate or judge, shall summon, order, collect, examine, 
practice and execute such court business as necessity demands. 

Whatever they pronounce and judge, according to the contents 
of the following articles and ordinances, shall stand. If, how- 
ever, any of our people, or others, wish to appeal, it shall be made 
to no other body than the Honorable Council in our city of 

The court days are, and shall be, on Monday and Thursday. 
The seat or place of the court the judge shall choose and 
announce. Accordingly, when it has struck one o'clock in the 
afternoon, then the judges, secretary, the court beadle, and who- 
ever serves the court, shall be there, on pain of breaking their 
oath, and shall assist in the action, as is proper. But if any one 
cannot be there on account of business of the city, or other law- 
ful cause, then the burgomaster shall, by means of the beadle, 
appoint another, and let him sit. And whoever is judge at a 
time shall have possession of the seal of the court, and shall, 
through the beadle, announce orally or by other notice the 
sessions and orders, always in good time. The cases which 
come before him, and which need consideration or deliberation, 
he shall not postpone or hold up more than a week, so that the 
people may be joined or separated promptly. 

And here follow the articles and ordinances concerning 


First, a general ordinance : That no one shall enter into 
matrimony in our city and country without the testimony and 
presence of at leat two pious, honorable citizens in good standing. 


No one shall marry, engage or give to another his son or 
daughter without the favor, knowledge and will of the father, 
mother, guardians or others, who are responsible for the young 
people. Whoever transgresses this shall be punished according 
to the manner of the case, and the marriage shall be invalid. 

Now in order that marriage requirements may not be made 
lower than before, no marriage shall hold which a minor shall 
enter into without the knowledge of the above-mentioned, his 
father, mother, guardian, or other people responsible, as have 
been named, before the minor is fully nineteen years old. But 
if it happens before this, then the ones mentioned, the father, 
etc., can hinder it and nullify it. But in case these are careless, 
and have not provided for their children in the nineteen years, 
then the children may marry and care for themselves, with God's 
help, unhindered by any one and without any payment. Neither 
father, mother, legal representative or any one shall force or 
compel their children to a marriage against their will at any time. 
But where that has happened, and is legally reported, it shall 
not be valid and the trespasser shall be punished. 

Marriages that have been arranged for or already consummated 
shall not be hindered or disturbed, as is right and proper, in any 
degree, by anything, cause or reason, except the clearly expressed 
causes as are in the holy Scriptures, Leviticus xviii. 

And what has heretofore been achieved by dispensations and 
money shall be done away with entirely, and cause no more 


When two take each other who are free, and who had no one 
to whom they were under obligation or who took an interest in 


them, or two are engaged to each other, they shall stand by each 
other. But the girl shall be over fourteen and the boy over six- 

But where they are engaged, and have no references, accord- 
ing to the above ordinance, a marriage shall not be valid. 
Accordingly, let each one take care and avoid such disgrace and 

But if one seduces, disgraces or ruins a daughter, maid or 
young woman, who was not yet married, he shall give her a morn- 
ing gift, and shall marry her. But if her father and mother, or 
the guardian, or other person responsible, refuse her to him, then 
the perpetrator shall give a dowry to the girl, according to the 
judgment of the authorities. 

And if any one boasts to the danger and injury of another 
[matrimonially], and is convicted of such a thing, he shall be 
severely punished. 

Likewise, in order to avoid suspicion, calumny and deceit, we 
desire that each marriage that is properly performed shall be 
publicly witnessed in a church, and provided with a license of the 
parish. Each preacher shall enroll and keep record of all such 
persons, and no one shall give those under him to another without 
his favor and will, publicly expressed. 


It is proper for a pious married person, who has given no cause" 
for such act, to put away from himself or herself the other who 
is caught in open adultery, indeed to leave him or her, and to 
provide himself or herself with another spouse. 

This we call and consider open adultery, which is discovered 
and proved, with sufficient public notice, before the matrimonial 
court, as is proper, or is so plain and suspicious in fact that the 
deed cannot be denied with any kind of truth. 

But in order that adultery may not be condoned, and that no 
one may seek a cause to secure a new marriage by means of 


adultery, it will be necessary that a severe punishment be placed 
upon adultery, for it was forbidden in the Old Testament on pain 
of stoning to death. 

The preachers to whom the Word of God and superintendence 
(of morals) are commended shall ban and exclude such sinners 
from the Christian parish, but the corporal punishment and the 
matter of the property shall be referred to the civil authorities. 

But that no one for this reason may fear marriage, and resort 
to prostitution, these sinners, too, as is now announced, shall be 

Since, now, marriage was instituted by God to avoid unchastity, 
and since it often occurs that some, by nature or other shortcom- 
ings, are not fitted for the partners they have chosen, they shall 
nevertheless live together as friends for a year, to see if matters 
may not better themselves by the prayers of themselves and of 
other honest people. If it does not grow better in that time, 
.they shall be separated and allowed to marry elsewhere. 

Likewise, greater reasons than adultery, as destroying life, 

--.endangering life, being mad or crazy, offending by whorishness, 

-or leaving one's spouse without permission, remaining abroad a 

Jong time, having leprosy, or other such reasons, of which no rule 

can be mdae on account of their dissimilarity r these cases the 

judges can investigate, and proceed as God and the character of 

the cases shall demand. 

The ordinances shall be carefully an.d repeatedly announced by 
all clergymen, and their parishes warned against trespassing them. 

Given at Zurich on Wednesday, the toth of May, in the yea.r 





Grace and peace from the Lord. It is an old saying, dear 
brethren, that success is the mother of evils, and this is pro- 
foundly true. For since even a little was conceded to the desires 
of certain ones through our idleness or blindness, these are now 

* Zwingli's Works, III., 357-437. Translated from the Latin by Henry 
Preble and George W. Gilmore. 

On Monday, October 26, 1523, the Second Disputation was held in Zurich, 
again between Zwingli and the representatives of the Old Faith and other 
clergy, and in that Disputation for the first time the Baptist party in Zurich 
made their appearance. The subject of the debate was what position the 
reform party should take in regard to the use of images in the churches and in 
regard to the sacraments. The Baptist party in Zurich were the radicals. The 
origin of this party was hi a sort of inquiry meeting that is, some members of 
Zwingli's congregation used to meet in a private house and talk over the ser- 
mons which they had heard from Zwingli, frequently in his presence. Zwingli 
may have said in these gatherings a good many things which were not for 
publication, but he had said enough in his public discourses to show this little 
group of earnest men that he was on the side of a complete break with the Old 
Church. Zwingli was a very cautious person, and while he saw plainly that his 
opinions led logically to very radical reforms, he. wished to make haste slowly 
and come at the changes, which he knew would cause considerable sorrow to 
many conservative people, by successive steps; but the little group referred to 
wished to accomplish the same results at once, without tarrying for any, and 
accordingly they started out without first preparing the people for such action 
to do the things Zwingli had at heart. Thus they made an attack upon 
churches and stripped them of their ornaments; they refused to observe the 
church fasts; and what is of more interest in this connection, they declared 
that the baptism of infants was unscriptural, and therefore should not be 
observed. Zwingli was very much distressed at the precipitance of his enthu- 
siastic friends, because such actions were on the side of disorder, and it was 
very important to guard the growing Reformation from the charge of disorderly 
conduct. At the same time he could not say that what they did was in itself 
wrong, as he had himself advocated the removal oi all ornaments from the 
churches, and it is doubtless true that in his earlier addresses from the pulpit 
he exposed the unbiblical character of the church doctrine upon the general 


so incapable of limiting those desires that they prefer to perish 
themselves and to destroy others rather than give up what they 
have begun. An example of this is furnished during the life of 
Christ among men, and this is repeated now in our times when 
he has relit the torch of his word, doubtless though to our good. 

subject of baptism, and probable that he inclined towards ruling out infant 
baptism, as lacking biblical support. 

The followers of a great teacher are frequently guilty of bringing their master 
into compromising situations, because they make prominent what he thinks of 
very small account, although it may be in the line of his teaching, and so Zwingli 
found himself criticised severely in Zurich when his remarks upon infant baptism 
were repeated. To those who were brought up to regard baptism as necessary 
to salvation it was a great shock to be told that the ceremony had no validity. 
To those who believed that the rite of baptism was the Christian obligation in 
lieu of circumcision, and just as binding, to hear that there was grave doubt 
whether it should be so considered was to knock the underpinning from their 
faith. When Zwingli found that opposition to the popular belief and practice 
upon this point meant that he would be exposed not only to clerical and lay 
adverse criticism, but probably would lose him his influence with the city mag- 
istrates, who were all friends of the Old faith on this doctrine, he devoted a 
great deal of attention to it, with the result that he convinced himself that as 
to the subjects of baptism he had been wrong, and henceforth he took the ortho- 
dox side. As Zwingli was an honest man and morally courageous, his change 
of view should be accepted as sincere, and not as time-serving and hypocritical. 
He soon had a chance to attack his former friends and admirers on other than 
speculative grounds, because they had been influenced by men like Thomas 
Muenzer and Balthasar Hubmaier, who were In the stream of the Baptist 
movement in Germany. Balthasar, indeed, developed into the leading theolo- 
gian of the Baptists of Switzerland. From Germany the idea came to the little 
company of Baptists in Zurich to practice the rite of baptism upon believing 
adults who had already, as the Church claimed, been baptized, upon the theory 
that only those could be baptized truly who were old enough to have at the 
time an intelligent comprehension of the doctrines to which they were giving 
assent, and as this could not have been the case with those "baptized" in 
infancy, therefore they had never really been baptized. The first of these adult 
baptisms occurred in a gathering of these Baptists in Zollicon, a little village to 
the east of Zurich, and was by pouring from a dipper. But these first Baptists 
in Switzerland cared so little in regard to the mode of baptism that the question 
does not seem to have been discussed among them, and in the writings of 


Then when he had not only endured the betrayer for so long a 
time, but also openly dissuaded or terrified him, the latter, so far 
from giving over the malicious design entered upon, of giving 
up master and parent, did not cease till he had placed the 
spirit in bonds.* So it is now, when the audacity of the Cata- 

Zwingli is not referred to. This is a curious fact, because the modern Baptist 
church lays great stress upon a certain mode of baptism. 

The elaborate attack upon the Baptists here presented derives additional 
interest from the two documents that it embodies. The first is the attack upon 
Zwingli written probably by Conrad Grebel, one of the earliest friends of 
Zwingli, and the second is the Confession of Faith written by the Baptists of 
Bern. Zwingli replies to both these documents, quoting them verbally and 
fully, and this enables us to reconstruct them. The Confession of the Bernese 
Baptists is in very simple language, showing a very honest and God-fearing 
mind, and is in itself a triumphant refutation of the charges of fanaticism and 
immorality which Zwingli brings against them. In fact in this paper Zwingli 
shows himself up in a very bad light. 

This is no place in which to describe the outrageous treatment which the 
Baptist party received in Zurich and elsewhere through Switzerland. The 
writer feels the freer to use such a term because he is not himself a Baptist, but 
he comes to the subject merely as a historical student. He considers that the 
part which Zwingli played in this wretched business is a serious blot upon his 
reputation, and reveals a defect in his character. The Baptists were pursued 
relentlessly; drowning, beheading, burning at the stake, confiscation of prop- 
erty, exile, fines and other forms of social obloquy were employed to suppress 
them and prevent their increase. The fact shows plainly that the persecuting 
spirit in the times of the Reformation was just as rife among Protestants as 
among Roman Catholics, and that the devil was abroad in the hearts of those 
who considered themselves on both sides as the true servants of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, whose tenderness and love must have been greatly tried by these 
wicked doings of his friends. 

Peace came at last to Switzerland the peace of the grave-yard and of the 
sea which gives not up its dead. The orthodox party congratulated them- 
selves upon having got rid of the pestilential heresy of adult baptism, yet 
the student of history as he looks upon the large, nourishing and world-wide 
Baptist church of to-day asks himself which side really won the battle for the 
right of private judgment and liberty of action, the side of the persecutor or 
the side of the persecuted? 

* /. e., died by the halter; allusion to the death of Judas. 


baptists has been suffered to proceed so far that they have 
conceived the hope of confounding all things ; who are so un- 
taught that by calling themselves by this name they would in- 
crease their estimation ; so imprudent (while Christ would have 
the apostles prudent as serpents) that the confusion which alone 
they are eager for they suppose they will discover by means of 
their imprudence rather than find by any skill. This inauspicious 
race of men has so increased within a few years * that they now 
cause anxiety to certain cities.f And this in no other way than 
through unskilled and impious audacity. For while pious learn- 
ing and discipline has no need of the ministry of hypocrisy (for 
it is sufficient unto itself through erudition, and by the very un- 
affected discipline of piety commends itself to others), yet men 
of this kind are so thoroughly ignorant of that which they boast 
they alone know (and), so pretend that from which they are 
farther distant than the hall of Pluto from the palace of Jove, 
that it is clear that they begin this web endowed with nothing 
but impious and untaught audacity. For as often as by the use 
of clear passages of Scripture they are driven to the point of hav- 
ing to say, I yield, straightway they talk about " the spirit " and 
deny Scripture. As if indeed the heavenly spirit were ignorant 
of the sense of Scripture which is written under its guidance or 
were anywhere inconsistent with itself. And if you rightly and 
modestly call in question their customs and institutions, even if 
you come as a suppliant and beg them to do nothing rashly, 
there is no abuse employed by the enemies of the Gospel these 
do not use, no threats they do not throw at you. What does all 
this mean, I ask, if it is not the sign of audacity and impious 
confidence? Since there is so rich a harvest of these not men 
(for why must one call those men who have nothing but the 

* Since 1523. 

tWaldshut, Zurich, St. Gall, Schaffhausen, Basel, Coire, Constance, Strass- 
burg, Worms, Ulm. 


human form?), but monsters of deceit that now the good seed 
which the heavenly Father so lately sowed in his field must be 
on its guard, I beg this, that we watch, act, and not let the enemy 
overthrow us as we sleep. Let us judge soberly, lest we receive 
a wolf in sheep's clothing. Let us labor, lest that evil that has 
arisen be attributed to our neglect. For there are, alas, not a 
few among us who are stricken and moved by every wind and 
novelty, just like the untaught rabble which embraces a thing the 
more quickly the more unknown it is. The Catabaptists speak 
in round tones of God, truth, the Word, light, spirit, holiness, 
flesh, falsehood, impiety, desire, demon, hell and all that kind of 
things, not only beautifully, but even grandly and finely, if only 
hypocrisy were more surely absent. If also you should investi- 
gate their life, at the first contact it seems innocent, divine, 
democratic, popular, nay, supermundane, for it is thought more 
noble than human even by those who think not illiberally of them- 
selves. But when you have penetrated into the interior you find 
such a pest as it is shame even to mention. For it is not suffi- 
cient for them to abuse the Gospel for gain and to live at the 
expense of another, and to give themselves up to such base 
cunning for the sake of their belly, weaving plot out of plot, but 
they must not only assail, but even destroy, the faith of matrons 
and girls from whose husbands and parents they obtain hospi- 
tality. And not contented with all this, they refuse to pronounce 
and recognize as wicked the hand made bloody at St. Gall with a 
cruel parricide, so that you see without difficulty that the same 
thing is to be expected from their assemblages (which are both 
nocturnal and solitary), which once at Rome improperly idle 
matrons when they had gained possession of a certain paltry 
Greek perpetrated in their subterranean meetings. And although 
all those deeds are in part so wicked and unworthy of good men, 
in part so obscene and impure, and in part so monstrous and 
cruel, that they would hand this age down to posterity as infam- 
ous, even though there were no other calamity; nevertheless 


great as they are, they are insignificant in that they confined the 
contumely within human bounds, as compared with these which 
they are guilty of against the piety that regards both Christ and 
public morals. They deny that Christ himself perfected forever 
his saints in his one offering of himself. But what is this but 
drawing from heaven God's Son who sits at the right hand of the 
Father? And when they have cast him from his kingdom, in 
whose name, pray, shall they be baptized? Does not the whole 
New Testament tend to this, that we should learn that Christ is 
our successful sacrifice and redemption? Out of what books do 
the Catabaptists draw their doctrine? When therefore they 
thoroughly deny the sum of the New Testament, do we not see 
them using catabaptism, not to the glory of God or with the 
good of their consciences, but as a pretext for seditions, confu- 
sion and tumult, which things alone they hatch out? With folly 
does he boast the baptism of Christ who denies Christ. It is to 
no purpose that they say after the manner of the Jews (some of 
whom we know do this) that Christ was a great prophet or a 
man of God, but not the Son of God, for he can be neither a 
prophet nor a man of God who brings a lie to wretched mortals 
in which (lies) they abound to more than a sufficiency. But 
Christ asserted that he was the Son of God ; on account of this 
he died ; he therefore could not have lied when he said he was 
God's Son if he was a true prophet or a man of God. How is 
it that the apostles baptized in Jesus' name when he had given 
them the formula, " In the name of the Father and the Son and 
the Holy Spirit?' Jesus must be equal, nay, the same as Father, 
Son and Holy Spirit. For John, great as he was, and prophet 
and man of God, did not baptize in his own name. In brief, 
then, when they clearly deny that Christ is by nature the Son of 
God, it is through evil design that they rage about baptism, and 
not for zeal's sake. Morals they corrupted in the following 
manner : No matter what crime they are caught in committing, 
even in the very act (for in their church so unstained shameful 


deeds, adultery, parricide, perjury, theft, evil, guile, and about all 
crimes there are anywhere, are more common than among those 
whom they call for contumely " the flesh and the devil." I tell 
the truth, I lie not; there is none of these that I cannot 
abundantly prove if the occasion demands) In whatsoever sin 
they are taken, I say, they escape in no other way than : I have 
not sinned, for I am no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit ; I 
am dead to the flesh, and the flesh to me. Do they not betray 
what they are by this reply? For how can they who are led by 
the Spirit of God and are sons of God allure to adultery a 
matron's chastity? With what face offer insult to a simple little 
maiden ! What an insult to God is this ! What a handle this 
for those who would already have given themselves from the lust 
of the flesh to all vice if shame alone had not opposed ! Will 
not the homicide share with the rake and adulterer, when 
accused, the formula, " I am now of the Spirit ; the wrong 
done here is not mine, but is of the flesh." What shame, pray, 
will be left us? What regard for modesty? For they do not 
reply .with the same mind as do we ordinarily who trust in Christ. 
For we frankly confess : I have sinned, I will correct the error, I 
will flee through Christ to the mercy of God, from this I will 
never fall. For they do not refer to Christ ; they have put off 
all shame, and what will he correct who denies that he has fallen? 
O, the crime, the audacity, the impudence ! What swine of the 
school of Epicurus ever thus philosophized? Or what difference 
is there between right and wrong, O heaven, between holy and 
crime-laden, man and beast? If you take away shame from 
humanity, have you not admitted to the theatre all obscenity, 
have you not eliminated law, corrupted morals? You are not 
ashamed at slaughter, adultery, harlotry ; you are more a beast 
than the wolf, lion or horse, which have some shame. Against 
this class of men we must be on constant watch, all our forces 
and machines must be brought, my brethren, and the more 
because they rage so in their hypocrisy and perfidy. They excel 


in this Empusa, Proteus, the chameleon, or Tarandus,* or whatever 
is inconstant. By this they assert that the papal party will bring 
them aid this openly. They assail far more sharply than do 
the Romanists all who stand by Christ, by which they evince to 
what purpose they spare those whom they so anxiously flatter. 
But all our material cannot and must not be sought elsewhere 
than from the armory of the Old and the New Testament. Do 
thou, Father of lights, illumine their darkness, that they may see 
their error, and as thou wilt sometime do, eliminate this error 
from the Church quickly, we pray ! But thou, whosoever thou 
art, who boastest in the name or ministry of the Most High God 
or of the gospel of His Son, consider what and whence these 
matters are which we allege, and laying passion aside furnish 
the herb of truth. Farewell ! 
ZURICH, July 31, 1527. 


Thus far our preface. Now hear in what order we shall 
proceed. First, we shall reply to their calumnies, in which they 
assert they have confuted our fundamental arguments. Secondly, 
I shall overthrow the basis of their superstition. Then I shall 
discuss the covenant and the election of God, which abides firm 
and is above baptism and circumcision ; nay, above faith and 
preaching. I shall add an appendix, in which, with the help of 
God, I shall refute certain errors recently wrought out by them. 
But all with a light hand. In the first two parts I shall always 

* Empusa was a spectre, of huge size, having one leg of brass and one like 
that of an ass, sent out by Hecate to frighten travelers. It ate human flesh. 
It sometimes appeared as a beautiful young woman. Proteus was the Old Man 
of the Sea, who rose at noonday from the flood, came on land and fell asleep 
among the rocks. If any one could catch him there and hold on to him, not- 
withstanding his efforts to escape by changing his form, he would be able to learn 
from him the future with infallible accuracy. Tarandus was a horned animaj 
of Northern lands, perhaps the reindeer. 


put their words first, faithfuly translated from German into 
Latin ; after that the reply. Thus then they begin : 

THE CATABAPTISTS. One of Zwingli's grounds for advocating 
the baptism of infants is the family of Stephanas. For he says : 
It is more likely than not that the apostles baptized the children 
of the faithful, for Paul says, i Cor. i. 16, And I baptized also 
the household of Stephanas; a second is in Acts xvi. 15, when 
Lydia was baptized and her house ; a third in verse 33, a little after, 
And he was baptized, he and his house, straightway. In these 
families it is more likely than not that there were infants. Thus 
far they. 

Before I go to the regular reply, I would warn thee of one thing, 
O reader. This work is called a " Refutation of the Tricks, etc.," 
because this class of men so abounds and works in tricks that I 
have never seen anything equally oily or changeable. Yet this 
is not wonderful. For add to their asseverations of holiness, which 
they are skilled in working up, their readiness in making fictions 
and scattering them, and (you see) how they deceive not only 
the simple, but even the elect, divine providence thus proving 
its own. The book containing the refutation of our positions * 
they had for a long time been passing through the hands of their 
brotherhood, who everywhere boasted that they could so tear up 
Zwingli's positions that there would be nothing left. I had 
meanwhile been looking and searching everywhere to see if I 

**As appears from the letter of CEcolampadras to Zwingli, dated July 19, 
1527 (Zwingli's Works, viii. 80), it is probable that the writing which called 
out the answers of CEcolampadius and Zwingli had the title: " Ein Gesprech 
Balthasar Hubemors von Fridberg. Doctors, auff Mayster Ulrichs Zwinglens 
ze Zurich Taufbuechlein. von dem Khindertauff. Die warhayt is untodtlich. 
Erd.erd.erd.h5re das wort des hen-ens. Hiere." Nicholspurg 1526 (quarto). 
Zwingli's book on Baptism (" Vom Touf, vom widertouf und vom kindertouf"), 
appeared May 27 1525. It is in his Works, ii. i, 230-303. 

On July nth in that year Hubmeier issued his "Von dem christlichen 
Taui der Glaubigen," to which Zwingli replied by his " Uiber doctor Bal- 
thazars toufbiichlin wahrhafte griindte antwurt (1525) W r orks, ii. I, 337-369. 


could get it, but could find it nowhere, until CEcolampadius, a 
most upright man, and also most vigilant, found one somewhere 
and sent it to me. So the first trick was that they sent around 
their own writings, which through their seared consciences they 
knew could not endure the light, secretly by the hands of the 
conspirators, who are as purblind in their ignorance as they are 
blind in their desire to advance the sect. They did not allow it 
to come into other hands. But the evil-doer cometh not into 
the light lest his works be manifest. But how could they submit 
their works to the church when they have seceded from the 
church? For you must know, most pious reader, that their sect 
arose thus. When their leaders, clearly fanatics, had already 
determined to drag into carnal liberty the liberty we have in the 
gospel, they addressed us who administer the word at Zurich 
first,* kindly, indeed, but firmly, so that so far as could be seen 
from their appearance and action it was clear that they had in 
mind something inauspicious. They addressed us therefore after 
the following manner : It does not escape us that there will ever 
be those who will oppose the gospel, even among those who boast 
in the name of Christ. We therefore can never hope that all 
minds will so unite as Christians should find it possible to live. 
For in the Acts of the Apostles those who had believed seceded 
from the others, and then it happened that they who came to 
believe went over to those who were now a new church. So then 
must we do : they beg that we make a deliverance to this effect 
they who wish to follow Christ should stand on our side. They 
promise also that our forces shall be far superior to the army of 
the unbelieving. Now the church was about to elect from their 
own devout its own senate. For it was clear that there were 
many impious ones both in the senate and in this promiscuous 
church. To this we replied in the following manner : It is indeed 
true that there would ever be those who would live unrighteously, 

* In 1524. Cf. for these matters Zwingli, Works, ii. I, 230 sqq., 370 sqq. 
II., pp. 370 ff and 230 ff. 


even though they confessed Christ, and would have all innocence 
and therefore piety in contempt. Yet when they asserted and 
contended that they were Christians, and were such by their 
deeds as even the church could endure they were on our side. 
For who is not against us is on our side. 

So Christ himself had taught in just such beginnings of things 
as were then ours. He had also commanded us to let the tares 
grow with the grain until the day of harvest, but we hoped boldly 
more would return daily to a sound mind who now had it not. If 
this should not be, yet the pious might ever live among the im- 
pious. I feared that in that condition of affairs a secession 
would cause some confusion. The example of the apostles was 
not applicable here, for those from whom they withdrew did not 
confess Christ, but now ours did. A great part of those would 
be unwilling to consent with us to any secession, even though 
they embraced Christ more ardently than we ourselves. By the 
continuous action of the word that alone should be promulgated 
which all ought to know, unless they wished to be wanting to 
their own salvation. I did not doubt that without disorder the 
number of the believing would ever grow larger by the unremit- 
ting administration of the word, not by the disruption of the body 
into many parts. That although the senate seemed to them to 
be ot very varying complexion, we were not of that mind. 
Especially because, while nothing humane seemed alien to them, 
yet they frankly not only did not oppose the word, but they 
favored it equally with that Jehoshaphat who strengthened with his 
cohorts by the law itself the priests and Levites that they might 
the more freely preach the word through all Judea. Yet one 
should especially observe that there were ten virgins awaiting the 
bridegroom, but five of them were wise and prudent and five 
were slothful and foolish. Replies on this line we made to them 
as they urged us, and they saw they would not succeed. They 
brought up other matters. They denounced infant baptism 
tremendously as the chief abomination, proceeding from an evil 


demon and the Roman pontiff. We met this attack at once, 
promised an amicable conference. It was appointed for Tuesday 
of each week. At the first meeting the battle was sharp but 
without abuse, as we especially took in good part their insults. 
Let God be the witness and those who were present, as well from 
their side as from ours. The second was sharper. Some of 
them, since they could do nothing with Scripture, carried on the 
affair with open abuse. When they saw themselves beaten after 
a considerable conflict, and when we had exhorted them in 
friendly ways, we broke up in such a way that many of them 
promised they would make no disturbance, though they did not 
promise to give up their opinions. Within three, or at most four, 
days it was announced that the leaders of the sect had baptized 
fifteen brethren. Then we began to perceive why they had deter- 
mined to collect a new church and had opposed infant baptism 
so seriously. We warned the church that it could not be main- 
tained, that this proceeded from good counsel, to say nothing of 
a good spirit, and for these reasons : They had attempted a 
division and partition of the church, and this was just as hypo- 
critical as the superstition of the monks. Secondly, though the 
churches had to preserve their liberty of judging concerning 
doctrine, they had set up catabaptism without any conference, 
for during the whole battle about infant baptism they had said 
nothing about catabaptism. Third, this catabaptism seemed 
like the watchword of seditious men. Then when they learned 
this in great swarms they came into the city, unbelted and girded 
with rope or osiers, and prophesied, as they called it, in the 
market place and squares. They filled the air with their cries 
about the old dragon, as they called me, and his heads, as they 
called the other ministers of the word. They also commended 
their justice and innocence to all, for they were about to depart. 
They boasted that already they hold all things in common, and 
threatened with extremes others unless they do the same. They 
went through the streets with portentous uproar, crying Woe ! 


Woe ! Woe to Zurich. Some imitated Jonah, and gave a truce of 
forty days to the city. What need of more ? I should be more 
foolish than they were I even to name all their audacity. But we 
who by the bounty of God stood firmly by the sound doctrine of 
Christ, although throughout the city one counseled one way and 
another the other, we believed we should teach correctly the proof 
of the Spirit. Something was accomplished in this way, although 
they changed themselves into all shapes that they might not be 
caught. When the evil had somewhat subsided, so that the ma- 
jority seemed likely to judge the matter impassively, joint meetings 
were appointed. But as often as we met, either publicly or pri- 
vately, the truth that we had on our side ever came off conqueror. 
They promised then that they would prove by blood what they 
could not by Scripture. They did this with so great boldness 
and boasting that I do not doubt they were a burden to them- 
selves. They practiced catabaptism contrary to the will of the 
senate and people, the public servants and police were turned 
back and some of them harshly treated. Finally a meeting was 
appointed* where each side should be heard to completeness, and 
when they were brought from the prison to the court or were 
taken back again one would pity the city and another would make 
dire threats against it. Here hypocrisy tried its full strength, 
but accomplished nothing. While some womanish breasts be- 
wailed and turned to pity, yet the truth, publicly vindicated, 
came off best. For all were allowed to be present during the 
whole three days' fight. When finally their impudence, though 
beaten also at that meeting, would not yield, an opportunity was 
again given them to fight.f In the presence of the church the 
contest raged for three whole days more, with so great damage 
to them that there were few who did not see that the wretched 
people were struggling for the sake of fighting, and not to find 
the truth. By this battle their forces were so cut up that we 

* The first was held Jan. 17, 1525. 
t On March 20, 1525. 


began to have much more tranquility, especially in the city, but 
they wandered through the country by night and infested all to 
the best of their opportunity. After that conference (the tenth, 
with the others public or private,) the senate decreed that he 
should be drowned who rebaptized another. Perhaps I obtrude 
these details upon you to your great disgust, good reader ; but it 
is not heat or bias that has influenced me, only a faithful watch- 
fulness and solicitude for the churches. For many of the breth- 
ren who had not discovered the character of these men thought 
that what had been done to them was too monstrous. But now 
when these people have begun to devastate their own sheep- 
folds, they are daily assailing us with letters and shouts, confess- 
ing that what they had heard was more than true, that they who 
have not had experience of this evil may now be rendered the 
more watchful. I think that the world has never seen a similar 
kind of hypocrisy. For as knowledge without love puffs up, so 
when conjoined with hypocrisy it is bolder than one of the people 
would think, and more adroit than even an astute man would 
apprehend The hypocrisy of the monks was crude, and they 
discoursed of divine things, if at all, in coldest fashion. But these 
men further act in such a way that they do not persuade or induce 
those whom they find thrown in their way ; they assail and rush 
on them. So these wretched fellows just undertake I know not 
what beyond their powers ; they assail the magistrates in terrible 
fashion ; they devote to destruction the ministers of the gospel ; 
on all sides they act like Alexander the false prophet he would 
not have Epicureans or Christians at his tricky performances. 
For as those in the magistracy command great wisdom and 
kowledge of affairs, so also they who worthily preside over the 
ministry of the gospel ought to be established in sound doctrine, 
so as to be able to overcome the contumacy of those who con- 
tradict it. Now see the astuteness of these men. They revile 
especially the ministers, both of the church and the state, so 
that if ever one in accordance with duty even whispers against 


them they straightway are able to say they are hostile to them 
because they have assailed their vices. Now any one of the 
people who hears this will suspect the ministers of the church 
and the magistrates before he does these many-colored deceivers : 
aroused to fury they charge forward at their command, ignorant 
whither they are rushing or to what end they will come. Impu- 
dence and audacity increase, so that he who to-day is a simple 
hearer will to-morrow abuse the magistrate to his face. When it 
is seen whither their increase is tending and resistance is made, 
straightway he who is the instigator departs from the midst and 
leaves the miserable people to be mangled by the executioner. 
And they present a parallel to Ate :* whithersoever they turn all 
is woe; they overturn everything and change things into the 
worst condition possible. Some city begins to think more 
soundly about heavenly teaching ; thither they proceed and bring 
confusion; they do not introduce the Lord to those which do 
not receive the word. Who does not discern from this whose 
apostles they are? Therefore establish your courage, good 
brethren. The hypocrisy of the Roman pope has been brought, 
into the light ; now we must war with hypocrisy itself. And you 
must do this with the less delay the more you see those apostles. 
of the devil, although they promise I know not what salvation,, 
seeking nothing but disturbance and the confusion of affairs, both 
human and divine, and destruction. So much about their division 
and betrayal of the church. They have gone out from us, for 
they were not of us. Yet I may add this one item : there is a 
small church at Zolliconf where the catabaptists set up their 
teaching under inauspicious beginnings. This church, though 
small (for it is a part of the Zurich church, only five miles out), 
is admirable in its constancy. For now they have about over- 
come the catabaptists born among them, having ever embraced 

* The daughter of Zeus, who induced gods and men to do rash and incon- 
siderate things. 

t On the north shore of the Lake of Zurich, and five miles from the city. 


the word with simplicity and placidity. This opportunity these 
[catabaptists] had eagerly looked for, hoping that on this account 
the men would the more readily yield to their hypocrisy because 
they displayed such great simplicity and eagerness. 

Now I return to their tricks, and thus I respond : When you 
say that the family of Stephanas is one of Zwingli's bases for 
insisting on infant baptism, you show great disingenuousness. 
For where, pray, have I ever postulated this, which you assert, 
as a foundation? Have I not written a special book to the 
unfaithful Balthasar,* the apostate, in which I briefly showed upon 

* Balthasar Hubmaier was born at Friedberg, near Augsburg, about 1480, 
educated at Freiburg in South Germany, became professor of theology at Ingol- 
stadt, and D. D., 1512. In 1516 he went to Regensburg as cathedral preacher 
and led the attack on the Jews, whose synagogue was destroyed. On its site a 
Christian chapel was erected, and he was its first chaplain. In 1521 he removed 
to Waldshut, near the border of Switzerland, and this brought him in contact with 
the Swiss Reformers. He embraced their teachings and introduced the Refor- 
mation into Waldshut, 1524. In that year Hubmaier came under the influ- 
ence of Thomas Miinzer, who confirmed him in the Baptist views he had 
previously independently imbibed from his Bible study. His accession to the 
ranks of the Baptists was a great gain of them. He was quickly recognized 
as their leading theologian. Driven out of Waldshut in December, 1525, when 
the city was captured by the Austrian troops and the Reformation suppressed, 
Hubmaier fled to Zurich. But his Baptist views made him suspected there, as 
the Baptists, or Anabaptists as they were commonly called, were charged with 
disturbing the public order and were under the ban of the State. Hubmaier was 
put in prison, tortured, compelled to recant, and finally driven out of the city. 
He went to Constance, to Augsburg and finally into Moravia, everywhere pro- 
claiming with eloquence and success by voice and pen his Baptist views. There 
was in those times, when religious liberty was a term unknown to Protestants 
and Roman Catholics, and when Baptists especially were hunted to death by 
all non-Baptists, only one possible end to such a career as his. He came into 
the hands of King Ferdinand of Austria, was taken to Vienna, 1527, and there 
burnt at the stake, March 10, 1528. He died like a hero. His wife, who 
courageously exhorted him to firmness, was herself put to death three days later, 
only it was through the waves of the blue Danube and not through fire that she 
entered the presence of the Master who looks with pity and forgiving love upon 
His followers' vain attempt to bring in His kingdom by the sword. The life of 
Hubmaier has been written from the sources by Johann Loserth, Bru'nn, 1893. 


what bases I strive in defending infant baptism? In this book 
do you not read : 

On the Baptism of Infants. 

I. The children of Christians are no less sons of God than the 
parents, just as in the Old Testament. Hence, since they are 
sons of God, who will forbid their baptism? 

Circumcision among the ancients (so far as it was sacramental) 
was the same as baptism with us. As that was given to infants 
so ought baptism to be administered to infants. 

II. But perhaps you have not read it, for in your superstition 
this is the first point, that he whom you wish to render doubly 
worse than he was may not unite with that church that has as 
bishops those who defend infant baptism. So I do not doubt 
that they have placed under interdict my books. My mention 
of the household of Stephanas, Lydia and of the keeper of the 
prison came about in the following way : I was giving you many 
warnings not to argue unskillfully thus : We do not read that the 
apostles baptized the infants of believers, therefore [infants] 
ought not to be baptized. First, because of the absurdity, 
because we might just as well argue, the apostles are nowhere 
said to have been baptized, therefore they were not baptized. 
And when you replied, it is most likely they were baptized long 
before they baptized others, then I replied : It was too true what 
Christ set forth, that some see a mote in a brother's eye and are 
deceived as to the beam in their own. But when I had said that 
it was more likely than not that the apostles baptized believers' 
infants, what laughter and mockery did not the faithless apostate 
Balthasar excite against me? Those are the columns, he says, 
and they bring no other Scripture but futile conjecture; we 
demand clear Scripture. See the crafty fellows ! In the sam 
matter they reply by conjectures and laugh at others who adduce 
conjecture simply as conjecture ; nay, they falsely assert among 


themselves that we use conjecture as a foundation. After that I 
very properly adduced as exampes, which showed it was more 
probable than not that the apostles baptized infants, the families 
of Stephanas, Lydia and of the warden of the prison. And these 
examples you will never be able to do away with, as I shall clearly 
show. You then continue to answer my examples thus : 

Catabaptists. We reply first that Zwingli says in his book that 
an act of the apostles can prove nothing, which is not true. 
Secondj grant that it is true; the obscure testimony which he 
alleges concerning the act of Paul, i Cor. i. 16, and concerning 
Lydia, can therefore by his own admission prove nothing. 

Reply : I myself recognize my own words, and I will not per- 
mit them to be twisted by your violent appropriation of them 
otherwise than as they were said. It was in this sense that I 
said that the act of the apostles proved nothing. Everywhere 
we read that they baptized ; by that fact we cannot prove that 
they did not baptize those whom Scripture does not assert to 
have been baptized by them. For otherwise it would follow that 
the divine virgin mother was not baptized, for Scripture does not 
relate her baptism. I would say : By a fact a not-fact cannot 
be proved. We read that Christ was at Jerusalem, Capernaum 
and Nazareth; it does not follow that he was not at Hebron 
because Scripture does not say so. We read that Christ taught 
at Nazareth, therefore he did not teach at Bethlehem, for we do 
not read that he taught there. Again, who does not see that 
the acts of the apostles are most pertinent as a defence of our 
acts, provided we do them in the same way under the same law? 
Peter thought nothing external should be placed on the necks of 
the disciples ; James allowed that something should be imposed, 
principally because of the Jews who had believed. It therefore 
follows rightly, if it can be obtained, that all ceremonies be 
abrogated entirely ; if this can not be done with public peace, 
those can be tolerated on account of the weak which do not 
involve impiety. For while the apostles permitted certain small 


details, such as abstinence from blood and things strangled, they 
in no way permitted believers to be circumcised. For he who is 
circumcised becomes a debtor to the whole law ; not so he who 
eats not blood or things strangled. It does not follow : The 
apostles are not said to have eaten pork, therefore they did not 
eat it. So our reasoning here is : It cannot be proved that 
believers' infants were not baptized by the apostles because this 
is not written, for there are many things done, both by Christ 
and by the apostles, which were not committed to writing. The 
lawyers call this a question of law, not of fact. Something may 
exist in law that never issues in fact. It was lawful for Paul to 
draw bodily nourishment from the field where he sowed spiritual 
seed. For Christ had said that the laborers were worthy of their 
hire. Now as he did not use this lawful right, the reasoning 
does not follow : Paul did not receive remuneration for preach- 
ing, therefore no one should accept it. Where again, not to pass 
over this, your audacity ought to be considered. For when 
you cry out among the simple populace against the ministers of 
the gospel that they ought not to gain a living from the gospel : 
Paul with his hands provided support for himself and for others, 
in this, as in all other matters, you act with malicious unfairness. 
For he himself (Paul), I say, taught that it was right for those to 
receive support who in turn nourished by the word. The condi- 
tion of affairs at that time admonished him, so that he did not 
do what was permissible, as the impious and the false apostles 
were assailing him. Read i Cor. ix. and you will learn how 
much Paul discussed on this matter of fact and right. You will 
see that it is not only foolish, but impious to argue thus : This is 
done, it is therefore done under warrant; this is not done, there- 
fore it is not right to do it. I would say then by this expression 
nothing else than this : The acts of the apostles cannot prove 
anything more than that the apostles did not baptize infants 
to grant for the time that they did not but it does not follow 
that they are not to be baptized, or that a negative follows from 


the affirmative, as the apostles baptized adults and believers, 
therefore infants are not to be baptized. You may argue neither 
in divine nor in secular matters from the fact to the right ; then 
only may a fact be adduced for the law when an act has been 
proved done by the law. For example, at Zurich it was per- 
mitted b/ the goodness of God to abolish all externals without 
compromising public peace. Since this was done legally it is 
not lawful to do away with all at Winterthur and Stein if only 
love as a judge permits it as right. At Jerusalem things strangled 
and blood were interdicted because of the weak. Now at Bern 
and Basel certain things which are not most wicked can be borne 
to a certain extent if love warns that this is right ; impious things, 
such as the mass, idols, false doctrine, are not to be suffered. 
Therefore the acts of the apostles are to be a law to us so far as 
they were done under sanction of the law. So it is only things 
false and wicked that right forbids both them and us to do, apart 
from whether they themselves have ever done them. For when 
you have done that which was permissible you have done right, 
even though no apostle had done it. My words therefore must 
be understood as dealing with right and with fact. To wit, 
infants may not be denied baptism because it is nowhere ex- 
pressly said that the apostles baptized infants. Also there is the 
consideration that, as we shall show clearly, the fact that they 
baptized may not have been put down in writing, and the acts 
of none may prejudice the right, much less acts not committed. 
So that if it were down in plain words somewhere : The apostles 
did not baptize infants, it would not (even then) follow that they 
are not to be baptized. The inquiry would have to be made 
whether they simply omitted the performance or whether it was 
not right to baptize. This we prove by John iv., where you read : 
Although Jesus himself did not baptize. Here you have an 
example of fact or non-fact. Christ did not baptize ; must we 
therefore, according to you, not baptize? This would follow if 
you are to argue from a fact to a law. And you can not say : 


But it says in the same place that the apostles baptized. For we 
should at once reply : Oh, if the apostles rightly baptized, even 
though Christ himself did not, we, too, rightly baptize infants, 
though the apostles did not. There is no difference in the 
cases, or rather our case is the stronger; we have Christ's not 
baptizing, yet the legitimacy of baptism ; you have the apostles 
only, who did not baptize infants (supposing we grant that they 
did not), yet none the less, infants are to be baptized. For 
since baptism is legitimate, though Christ did not baptize, so is 
baptism of infants, though the apostles did not baptize them, 
unless it is forbidden by another necessity which prevents the 
baptism of infants. As to your reply in the second place to the 
examples and facts which I adduced, as follows : Grant that it is 
true (/. e., that nothing can be proved by the deeds of the 
apostles unless it is clear that they acted legitimately), the 
obscure testimony which he adduces concerning Paul's act cannot 
therefore even in his own opinion prove anything. In this you 
have a fine answer; you turn the tables upon me beautifully. 
For if by acts one cannot prove legitimacy, but one must examine 
what is legitimate, then that Paul baptized infants in the families 
of Stephanas, Lydia and the jailor, cannot prove infant baptism. 
For I was not here intending by these examples to confirm as 
upon a foundation the baptism of infants, but showing how rash 
and false was your argument when you said that the apostles 
never baptized [infants] , for you have no testimony to this ; and 
then to prove that it was more likely than not that they baptized, 
I laid as the foundation the saying : The children of believers are 
as much within the church and as much among the sons of God 
as are their parents. 

Catabaptists. Third. Just before this fundamental argument 
of Zwingli's Paul says : Some of the family of Chloe tell me that 
there are strifes and contentions among you, etc. [i Cor. i. n.] 
As here infants announced and could announce nothing (for they 
could know nothing), so the infants of Stephanas' family were not 


baptized, if indeed there were infants in that family. For Zwlngli 
thrusts them into it, in spite of the testimony of Scripture?* 

Reply. Who does not see that the church never had such im- 
postors? They dare to reason as follows : No infant of the family 
of Chloe could make announcements to Paul, therefore no infant 
of Stephanas' family was baptized. What is there here but 
imposture for those who are ignorant of argument? Who was 
ever so unskillfully malign or so malignly unskillful as to argue 
thus? It can only be that they rely upon the foolishness of 
men. As if I should argue : No infant announced to Christ 
about the tower that fell, or about those whose blood Pilate 
mingled with the sacrifices, therefore Christ embraced no infant. 
Or : It is written of a certain family that it announced certain 
tidings, so who could not announce could not be of that family. 
As if announcement or any other deed made one of a family. 
What insanity is this? 

Catabaptists. Fourth. All testimony that mentions families 
excludes children. This is self-evident. 

Reply. Therefore when Christ was a boy he was not of the 
house and family of David. Then why is the family of his foster- 
parent Joseph so diligently written down? So when peace 
was given to the family of Zaccheus, if there were infants 
in it, were they excluded from peace ? Ex. i. 2 1 : Moses asserts 
that the Lord had built a house for the children of Israel, i. e. t 
given them family and posterity, when the midwives pretended 
that the Hebrew women had skill in helping on progeny. So 
those children were not children, or the women bore adults and 
men ; for infants, according to you, are not of the family. Ex. 
xii. 30. There was not a house in which there was not one dead, 
therefore no infant was dead. But why do I plead with the aid 
of testimony, as if there were need to tear away with testimony 
of truth things said most foolishly? But that is fine which they 

* That is, Zwingli claims that there were infants in the family although there 
is no plain scripture proof of it. 


add : This is self-evident. As if any ass ever gaped so at a lyre 
as to believe him who asserted that boys did not belong to the 
house or family. 

Catabaptists. Fifth. According to the reason, opinion and 
sentiment of man no one ought to baptize or do anything else, 
but according to express Scripture or fact, as the mass of testi- 
mony of divine Scripture proves. Just as Zwingli himself has 
often exclaimed against the vicar * and other enemies of God, 
and will not admit anything which depends upon human judg- 
ment or the custom of the fathers. But now he hastens to do 
what the enemies of truth have thus far done. 

Reply. I am always of the opinion you ascribe to me, and 
have never held or will hold a different one while life lasts. But 
when you impute to me what the enemies of truth have done 
until now, you speak from that spirit which has from the beginning 
been false and has not been based on truth. For what else have 
I ever done but confirm by testimony of Scripture all that I have 
given out? Not by authority, though I have some modicum of 
this; not with clamor or hypocrisy. This will appear to my 
readers in. the progress of the discussion. 

Catabaptists. Paul teaches that what is not in the gospel or 
in the discourses of the apostles is anathema. 

Reply. Where, pray, does Paul teach this? I suppose you 
refer to what he wrote in Gal. i. 8 : But though we or an angel 
from heaven preach to you otherwise than we preached let him 
be anathema. I will expose your words here a little diligently, 
for your ignorance and your malice will both be manifest. Your 
ignorance because you suppose that when Paul wrote this the 
gospel records and apostolic letters were already in the hands of 
the apostles and authoritative. As if even then Paul attributed 
to his own letters (for they are not the least part of the books of 
the New Testament) that whatever was in them was sacrosanct. 

* Faber, vicar general of Constance. See note on p. 46. 


Not that I would not have his productions sacrosanct, but that I 
would not have monstrous arrogance imputed to the apostles. 
As often as they, either Christ or the apostles, refer to Scripture 
they mean not their own letters or the gospel records, which 
were either not yet written or were then in process of writing, just 
as the times demanded ; they meant the law or the prophets. 
You cannot escape by saying that you do not refer to the gospels 
or the discourse of the apostles in writing, for you say : Whatever 
is not contained [therein]. You use the word "contained." 
And this must refer to documents [monumenta]. Here is 
stretched forth the finger of your malice and inconstancy. You 
have finally come to the point of denying the whole Old Testa- 
ment, just as also at Worms Denk and Haetzer with Kautz 
deny in no obscure terms a full satisfaction through Christ, which 
is nothing else than trampling upon the New Testament ; with 
us at Griiningen they deny the whole Old Testament, as I have 
seen with my own eyes.* For they have written to our senate : 
The Old Testament is antiquated and the testimony adduced 

* These persons were prominent Baptists. Hans Denk, born at Heybach 
(Habach), Upper Bavaria, about 1495; was educated at Ingolstadt; and in 
Augsburg received into the circle of the Humanists ( 1520); in Basel was proof 
reader for Cratander and Curio, and thence in the autumn of 1523, on CEco- 
lampadius* recommendation, went to Nuremberg as principal of a classical 
school. But his stay was short, for his advocacy of the views of Miinzer and 
Carlstadt made him so detested by the local clergy that he was driven out of 
the city on January 31, 1524, and ever after was a wanderer. He is found in 
Muhlhausen, St. Gall and in Augsburg (September, 1525-October, 1526), and 
there he met Balthasar Hubmaier, and there he was baptized and baptized 
others. He was now recognized as a leader by the Baptists, which meant that 
he was a shining mark for persecution. He went to Strassburg and made a 
stir, quite captivated many people, so the authorities requested him to leave, 
and he did, on December 26, 1526. On January 20, 1527, he is found in 
Landau holding a disputation upon Infant Baptism; the next few months he 
passed at Worms, and there in connection with Haetzer, another Baptist 
scholar, made a translation of the Prophetical Books, which is still esteemed 
(published by Peter Sch5ffer at Worms, April 13, 1527). Again the zeal of 
the Baptists in defending their views in a public disputation (June 13, 1527,) 


from it is void, and so can prove nothing. Here I look for your 
spirit, I say, if you assert it to be a true one. For it at the same 

led to his expulsion from the city. He visited his brethren in South Germany 
and Switzerland, everywhere at the peril of his life. At last, wearied in body 
and mind from incessant wanderings and debatings, he came to Basel in the 
autumn of 1527, and threw himself upon the gentle and generous protection 
of CEcolampadius, who cheerfully received him and conscientiously, though 
vainly, strove to convert him. But soon he was attacked by a power no earthly 
protector could cope with he fell sick of the plague and died in Basel, 
November, 1527. He was a pure, honest and noble man and fine scholar. 

Ludwig Haetzer (or perhaps oftener written Hetzer, i. e., baiter, as being 
an objectionable form, and therefore more suitable for a hated "Anabaptist ") 
was bom at Bischofszell, near St. Gall, Switzerland, about 1500; educated at 
Freiburg im Breisgau, and became proficient in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. 
He lived in the circle of the early Swiss Reformers, and showed himself a bril- 
liant though excitable youth. When chaplain at Wadenschwyl, on the south 
shore of the Lake of Zurich, and fifteen and a half miles from the city, he 
published a widely read pamphlet advocating the destruction of the images in 
the churches, the consequence of which was that on September 29, 1523, the 
crucifix in one of the city churches was destroyed. In the Second Zurich 
Disputation (October 26-28, 1523,) he came into prominence, and drew up 
the official report. In Zurich he remained for months occupied in literary work, 
but there he joined the radicals, who eventually became the first Swiss Baptist 
party. In the end of June, 1524, he went to Augsburg, with a letter of recom- 
mendation from Zwingli, but returned at the end of the year, and then allying 
himself with the Baptist party he was ordered from the city, January 21, 1525. 
He went again to Augsburg, and found employment with the printer Ottmar. 
But his associations with the dreaded and detested Baptists caused his banish- 
ment in the autumn. By way of Constance and Basel, where CEcolampadius 
received him as he had Denk, he came once more to Zurich and won at length 
the return of Zwingli's confidence. But he had not altered his opinions, 
although out of prudence he concealed them, and when he published a book 
revealing his Baptist views Zwingli did not stay his banishment from Zurich. 
So in March, 1526, he was back in Basel. Then, at Strassburg (whence he 
was banished in the end of December, 1526), and later in Worms, he trans- 
lated the prophetical books of the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and with 
Denk issued the volume as already mentioned. The two were expelled (June, 
1527,) and Haetzer went again to Augsburg, whence he had to go, in the 
spring of 1528. These repeated and now long-continued experiences of 
persecution seem to have broken his spirit. He went to his native village, 


time takes away from us the Scriptures of the Old and the New 
Testament, for at Griiningen you tread upon the Old Testament 

thence to St. Gall, and finally, in the autumn of 1528, to Constance. There 
he married Anna, the widow of his Augsburg patron, George Regel. But he 
was charged with having married also her maid, and so he was arrested for big- 
amy, and on February 4, 1529, beheaded. But then the Baptists were popu- 
larly believed to be capable of all the sins and crimes in the calendar, and the 
probability is that Haetzer really was innocent of the accusation and died for 
his faith. Anyhow, his death was considered by many as that of a martyr, and 
was surely faced with religions ecstacy and commemorated by the Baptists. 

The last person to be mentioned in this connection is Jacob Kautz, called 
by Zwingli under his Latinized name Cucius. He was born at Bockenheim in 
Prussia, three miles northwest of Frankfort on the Main, about 1500. He 
entered the priesthood, but a little later accepted the Reformation and preached 
it at Worms. He took his coloring rather from Zwingli than from Luther, 
and so was on bad terms with both the Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy 
in the city. When Denk and Haetzer visited Worms in 1527 they made his 
acquaintance, and he joined the Baptist company there, which had become 
quite numerous, and it was he who on Whitsunday (June Qth), 1527, gave out 
in German the Seven Articles (printed in Zwingli's Works, viii., 77, both in 
German and Latin,) as topics for a public debate on June I3th. These Arti- 
cles of Kautz were as follows: 

" I. The external word is not the true, living or eternally abiding Word of 
God, but only the testimony or indication of the inner to satisfy the demand 
for external things. 

" II. Nothing external, whether word, sign, sacrament or promise, has power 
to assure, console or make certain the inner man. 

" III. The baptism of infants is contrary to the teaching of God given us 
through Christ. 

" IV. In the Lord's Supper neither the body nor the blood of Christ is cor- 
poreally present. 

" V. All that was lost in the first Adam is and will be found more richly 
restored in the second Adam, Christ; yea, in Christ shall all men be quickened 
and blessed forever. 

"VI. Jesus Christ of Nazareth suffered on the cross and made satisfaction for 
us in no other way than that we should stand in his footsteps and walk in the 
way which he has opened, and obey the command of the Father, even as the 
Son did. They who speak, think or believe otherwise of Christ, each in his 
own way makes out of Christ an idol. 

"VII. Just as the literal bite of the forbidden fruit would have harmed neither 


just as much as at Worms upon the New. If you admit it not 
to be true, what boldness is it to simulate the divine Spirit with 

[Adam] himself nor his descendants if he had not eaten of the same with his 
mind, so also the bodily suffering of Jesus Christ is not real satisfaction and 
reconciliation with the Father without internal obedience and the greatest 
desire to yield to the eternal will. 

" Of these articles thus formulated, no one must be judge except only He who 
speaks and testifies in the hearts of all men, as Scripture says. For no man 
has been commanded by God to call the truth into judgment, but only to testify." 

It must be confessed that some of these Articles were repugnant to the pre- 
vailing orthodoxy, but in a less strenuous time they could have been debated 
without persecuting those who held them. 

There were at that time close connections between the Reformed in Worms 
and in Strassburg, and many of the Baptists in the former place had come from 
the latter. Accordingly the Strassburg Reformed pastors issued, on July 2, 1527, 
a pamphlet entitled: "A faithful warning of the preachers of the gospel in 
Strassburg against the Articles which Jacob Kautz, preacher at Worms, has 
lately issued concerning the fruit of the Scripture and the Word of God, Infant 
Baptism and the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, and other doctrines." 

There is no evidence that the purposed debate ever came off, but the city 
banished Kautz, along with Denk and Haetzer, and henceforth he was a wan- 
derer. He went first to Augsburg, then to Rothenburg and in the beginning 
of 1528, to Strassburg. There he had a debate with Capito and Butzer, June, 
1528, and remained at liberty till January, 1529, when he was cast into prison 
for street preaching. He was released only to be banished. He is heard of 
only twice again. In 1532, he applied in vain for permission to return to 
Strassburg; in 1536, he was teaching school in Moravia. The date and place 
of his death are unknown. 

The allusion to a Baptist denial of the whole Old Testament at Worms is to 
that by the company of Baptists already mentioned as gathered in that place. 
Griiningen, which is also mentioned in that connection, is a village in the Can- 
ton of Zurich, and twelve miles southeast of that city and some three miles 
back of the north shore of the lake. It was an early Baptist important center 
and, therefore, a scene of ruthless persecution. 

Capito in his letter to Zwingli of June 9, 1527 (see latter's Works, viii, 76- 
78) reveals the attitude of the Strassburg Reformed clergy towards the Baptists, 
to whom he had for a while inclined. He charges them with fantastic belief 
and fanatic conduct. It is very likely there were mystics and fanatics among 
them, but testimony from violently prejudiced quarters should be received with 
caution, for from all that appears, the rank and file of the Baptists were good 
and God-fearing people. 


such persistency and wantonness ! But in vain do I offer you 
this alternative, for you will never admit your spirit to be a lying 
one. I will arraign it then by the very power of him who silences 
the kind of spirit in which you abound, so that it does no more 
dare to assert : Thou art the Son of God. For as falsely and 
faithlessly as you did they say : Thou art the son of God. For 
as often as you confess Christ (by " you " I mean your leaders) 
you make a confession worse than the demons. For pain con- 
strained them, for they so experienced his power and might that 
sincerely they confessed that he is the Son of God. But if you 
ever confess him you do it with pretence, for as soon as you 
hope for such an increase of your forces that you may speak dis- 
dainfully of him without being called to account, suddenly you 
assail his kingdom and goodness. For does he who denies that 
Christ has thoroughly made satisfaction for the sins of the world 
by one offering of himself does he say aught but : Christ is 
false, he is not God, he is not our souls' salvation? Of this 
enough has been said above, I think. But it is time to 
prove your spirit. You openly teach that felicity can come 
to none but by works of righteousness. So Christ, whom the 
Father sent into the world to become a victim for the de- 
spairing, is made void. Of this victim you have no need, 
for you trust in your righteousness But do you truly trust? 
By no means. For not only does divine Scripture teach that all 
men are liars and that all things are under sin through the law ; 
even the human reason of wise men reaches the same conclusion, 
so that it sees that man thinks and does nothing except by his 
favor. I have adduced the testimony of Cicero in my Com- 
mentary for this purpose it would take too long to repeat this 
here.* So the oracle attributed to Apollo, " Know thyself," 
makes clear to us that man within and at heart is worthless and 
evil. For man is not told to inspect himself that he may con- 

* Allusion to his Commentary on the True and False Religion, see Works, 
iii., 171. 


template himself with pleasure, but that he may descend into 
himself and weigh both himself and his [works]. He will find 
such corruption that he will not rashly think highly of himself 
whom he finds so low, or have a low estimate of another than 
whom he sees himself no better. Since then even human reason 
perceives, when it is quite frank and thrusts itself into the hidden 
recesses, that man is altogether evil, with what boldness do yon 
assert trust in human innocence? Or will you perhaps say that 
we must not trust at all? According to your opinion then we 
shall all be adjudged to ultimate condemnation. For if felicity 
must come by our innocence, and this innocence is wholly denied 
us, then felicity for us has perished. Then why do you simulate 
innocence? Why do many of you take to themselves these words 
of Christ and boast : Which of you convicteth me of sin ? I 
therefore judge that this is the result, whether you assert that 
innocence is man's and from this innocence (which the apostle 
calls righteousness) felicity [flows], or whether you deny it, your 
hypocrisy is made clear. For if you insist that felicity follows 
from our deeds, reason and common sense oppose. What have 
you to do with sacred Scripture, which you so hold as a supple- 
ment or appendage that you lay it aside whenever you please? 
If you deny that it [innocence?] can be obtained, why then do 
you pretend that what you see can pertain to no mortal, that 
you hold with both hands ? Read again and again this refutation, 
I beg, and you will come to know yourselves, unless you are more 
obstinate than the demon. What then ? At Worms you deny 
Christ, and lead the way back to trust in works, because the men 
there who have recently become interested in religion are little 
trained in the wiles of hypocrisy, and so are susceptible to your 
tricks. For when they see your squalor and hear also your 
sounding words about innocence they assert that you have assumed 
this squalor that you might the more put on God ; they therefore 
receive you as men of God, and supply richly what they possess. 
For what chest is so firm that it will not yield to such sanctity, 


what pouch so close as not to open to so vehement a spirit? 
Worshippers of the belly ! At Griiningen you deny the Old 
Testament, for you see there many who are not affected by a 
pretence of sanctity, and detest the boldness with which you talk 
about " spirit :> when Scripture does not suffice. Since therefore 
you see that catabaptism, from which you hope as from a fountain 
to derive all your counsel, is proved by no Scripture ; while infant 
baptism can be defended by the Old Testament, you reject the 
Old Testament. Since then you disparage part of the Old and 
part of the New, you only show that you are the very worst and 
most fickle of men, indeed atheists. For while you draw from 
the records which are written about Christ the matters that con- 
cern baptism, you make Christ himself of no account. So it is 
known to all that you do everything for contention's sake, however 
much in hypocrisy you simulate sanctity and simplicity. Further, 
since you reject the Old Testament for the reason that you cannot 
endure what is deduced from it in reference to infant baptism, 
you clearly evince that you make of no account him who is God 
both of the Old Testament and the New. Let me not seem too 
immoderate, dear reader. You will see that in all matters the 
case of these people is worse than my pen can show. What 
hidden ulcer is that they cherish but why do I say hidden ulcer, 
when it is not hidden that they deny both the Old Testament 
and Christ himself? Weigh a little carefully their words, which 
we copy here. Paul, they say, teaches that whatever is not in 
the gospel or discourses of the apostles is anathema. You see 
how openly they reject the Old Testament. You see them as 
wishing to appear to strive by Scripture, yet distorting Scripture 
as they do here by Paul, even making that Scripture lie which 
Christ called in as testimony. And have the apostles taught 
anything that they had not drunk in or proved from this Scrip- 
ture? A fine and learned saying that : " Whatever is not in the 
gospel or in the discourses of the apostles, let it be anathema." 
The oracles of the prophets or of the poets [/. e., poetical books 


of the Old Testament,] are not contained to the word in the 
gospel and apostolic commentaries, so they are anathema. Thus 
ought they to speak who make themselves masters of all. Who, 
pray, thus speaks? Do not all who base their speech on this 
axiom speak thus : Whatever is asserted without the testimony of 
the Old and New Testament, let it be anathema? But now I will 
restrain my chiding, for I think that you, most devout reader, 
see clearly this hidden ulcer. 

Catabaptists. John xvii. 20 gives a good reason through the 
mouth of Christ as he says : Neither pray I for these (/. e., the 
apostles,) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me 
through their word. The apostles have their word from Christ, 
but Christ has [his] from the Father. 

Reply. Unite these words, reader, to those immediately pre- 
ceding, that you may see how trained a sense they have in citing 
Scripture and how excellently they square what they thus caw 
out before an unskilled people. What will they of the authority 
of Christ? Is it that he is to be believed because what he has 
said and taught he has drawn from the Father and his disciples 
from him? Then why do they not believe Christ, who just before 
said : For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be 
sanctified through the truth, /. e., really and truly sanctified? 
By which words he means only what Paul does when he says, 
Heb. x. 14 : For by one offering he hath perfected for ever 
them that are sanctified. Why do they not believe him when 
he says : God hath not sent his Son into the world to judge the 
world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who 
believeth in him is not judged, etc. And : No one cometh to 
the Father but by me. Why do they not believe his apostles? 
Peter, e. g., saying : Ye yourselves are built up as living stones 
into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacri- 
fices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And Paul : 
Through him we have access to God. And : He is our redemp- 
tion. In fact whither does the whole teaching of Paul tend if 


not to show that through Christ alone sins are done away and 
salvation is given. Why do they not believe John? Little 
children, he says, I have written these things to you that ye sin 
not. But if any man among you sin, we have an advocate with 
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation, 
not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. These 
people then have not the purpose of proving that faith is to be 
had in Christ's words and his apostles', for they have none them- 
selves ; if they had they would not assert justification by works. 

Catabaptists. Sixth. By the same rule by which Zwingli thrusts 
infants into the family I thrust them out, but by Scripture ; this 
Zwingli does without Scripture, for infants cannot be counted 
among the baptized families. 

Reply. First, I ask by what rule do you think I thrust children 
into families. By none. Do you not see then that men are 
born of men, that parents support and protect children? You 
see how those angel messengers of the devil have put off all 
human sense. Their head in hell knows that a demon is not 
born of a demon. So having become his slaves they suppose that 
this has become obsolete among men viz., that man should beget 
man and foster what he has begotten. Hear therefore what I 
mean, and how I would say : It is more likely than otherwise 
that the apostles baptized infants. For in the sacred Scriptures 
we have whole families baptized by them, in which it is more 
than likely that there were children. So to you this does not 
seem the more likely? Show the reason, and teach us how it is 
more likely that there were no children in those households, of 
which we mentioned three. But I will throw them out by 
Scripture, he says. But who, pray, are you that throw them out? 
I throw them out, he says. He must be a man of great authority 
among you to promise that, yet he shows none, neither baton nor 
scourge. For however he promises, he furnishes no evidence by 
which he may demand that he be believed. : . Himself said it, 
forsooth ! Children, he says, cannot be reckoned among the 


families baptized. Here is Scripture for you ! That master of 
ours thinks they cannot be reckoned in ; who will dare to con- 
tradict him? Zwingli, he says, thrusts children into the family 
without Scripture. What then if upon you, you raging wild ass 
(for I would not call him a man who I think was baptized among 
the shades on the Phlegethon,* both because it seems funny to 
strive with ghosts and because I am not sure, even though I am led 
by certain assured conjectures to conclude who is the author of so 
learned a confutation f) upon you I should bring down loads of 
proof from Scripture, from which you may learn that children are 
to be reckoned in baptized families. In Acts ii. 44 we read: 
And all that believed were together, and had all things common. 
Here I ask : Did the believers have their children with them or 
not? If they did, were they not in their families? If not, how 
is it we nowhere read that they were anxious because he who 
believed could not have his children with him? Was the spirit 
that impelled them so cruel as to dictate the abandonment of 
their children ? Oh ! You do not mean that they did not have 
them and nourish them, but that these did not belong to the 
Christian family ! I ask then what you mean by family ? You 
will doubtless say : Those who had come to such an age that 
they knew what law is and what sin is, for he must repent who 
wishes to be baptized, but since infants cannot repent, they 
cannot be included in the family. Thanks to God that you have 
learned to make so fine a rope of sand, twisting out lie from lie. 

* Phlegethon was one of the five rivers of Hades. 

t The document is generally attributed to Conrad Grebel, who had been 
converted by Zwingli from a licentious life, and who became one of his ardent 
followers. He joined the radical party in Zurich, and when Zwingli would 
not go their lengths he turned against him, and in letters to Vadian, his 
brother-in-law, abuses him. See Die Vadianische Briefsammlung, ed. Arbenz, 
passim. Grebel belonged to a prominent Zurich family. His father was be- 
headed as a traitor (November, 1526), and he himself was banished from the 
city for his Baptist faith in 1525, and died of the plague the next year at 
Maienfeld, in the canton of St. Gall and a couple of miles north of Ragatz. 


For having persisted in the statement that none is to be baptized 
but he who can repent, you will rightly assert that infants may 
not be baptized. But here there is need of a law forbidding, 
and you have no law. You therefore are the law, and where the 
lion fails you, patch on the fox. And why not? What one of 
your brethren weighs how correctly or incorrectly you reason? 
But we, who are accustomed to assert nothing not abundantly 
founded and supported by divine testimony, we know that Isaac, 
even when an infant, belonged to Abraham's family so completely 
that he compelled his father to send forth the servant and the 
child born of her. Does not this seem so to you? But Paul 
joins Moses in saying : The son of a maid-servant shall not be heir 
with my son Isaac. He was heir, and doubtless of the family. 
For even they who are not heirs, such as slaves and freedmen, 
are of the family. I do not care to plead here that by lawyers 
this son whom you disinherit here is declared a member of the 
family. I hasten to this : Ex. xii. 48 we read we who go to 
the Old and the New Testament as to two lights to prevent us 
from being deceived, while in the meantime you support your- 
selves on your own spirit as pearls do on their own absorption 
when nothing flows into or moistens them from outside we read, 
I say : And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee and keep 
the passover of the Lord, let all his males first be circumcised, 
and then he shall rightly keep it. Why is said here : All his 
males? Does this pertain only to adults? Why then the precept 
to circumcise every male on the eighth day? Yet infants are not 
of the family. To me the opposite seems true, for they possess 
heirship. But it is yours to prove by Scripture that they who 
received the sign of the church of God in accordance with the 
rite and religion of the parents belonged not to their parents' 
family. But that you will as soon do this as cut through an 
isthmus I will show by other evidence. In Acts xxi. 5 Luke 
writes : And after some days we went on our way, all bringing 
with us wives and children, etc. Were the children here only 


adults? And if not adults, were they not of the family? What 
miracle is here, or what is the special attention, if the fathers of 
the family brought the apostle on his way with wives and youths 
or almost adults? This was the special attention, that fathers 
with their wives carried or dragged with them the children, as is 
customary during such eager times. Now they took with them not 
others, but their own sons ; these were therefore in the family. 
There is no reason to admonish you, good reader, that I am 
exposing some trick or guile. For what difficulty will there be 
in discovering this to be malice, in that they do not reckon the 
infants of believers with the father's family. For it cannot be 
foolishness, since they themselves are counted in the families of 
the Denks and Hetzers and Kautrs (wonderful flock) to their 

Catabaptists. Seventh. Grant that there were infants in these 
families, the truth yet does not favor that those infants were 
baptized. But it follows with insult to truth and divine wisdom. 

Reply. Who can wonder enough at the assurance of the man ? 
He grants that children were in those families, but says they 
were not baptized. Yet in the first passage the words are : But 
I baptized also the house of Stephanas. In the second : But 
when she was baptized and her house. In the third : And he 
was baptized and all his house. How could he say in general, 
in the first place, that he had baptized the house of Stephanas, 
which he did not do if there were children in it whom he had 
not admitted? The same must be said about the second. But 
in the third case, when he asserts that the whole house was 
baptized, how is it that they do not see that in the beginnings 
the same custom obtained as with Abraham and his descendants, 
who circumcised the whole class of his servants, as well those 
taken in war as the home-born slaves and those bought, not to 
say the children, as appears from the passage just cited from 
Exodus? There it is expressly commanded to circumcise every 
male of the family, and there is never any mention of believing 


or knowing God, which yet ought to be the especial care of all 
It follows, he says, with insult to the truth and wisdom of God. 
Though they know neither, they affirm insult to both. But what 
contumely is it to either God's truth or his wisdom that Hebrew 
infants were circumcised and included in the faithful families? 
But these words of theirs are high-sounding ; this is their mer- 
chandise bombast and words a foot and a half long. To words 
of this sort, which they use in great rotundity, the unskilled mob 
erects its ears and then applauds. 

Catabaptists. Eighth. The last chapter of this epistle shows 
that the apostle neither knew nor baptized children. Zwingli 
dishonestly keeps this back ; it makes against his foundation of 
glass. Paul describes this family to the learned when he says : 
Ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits in 
Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the service of 
the saints that ye submit yourselves to them and to every one 
that helpeth with us and laboreth. A family of this sort paedo- 
baptism and paedobaptists do not recognize ; they do away with 
it, for it is against them. 

Reply. As in many other places so here, we easily catch the 
author of this frivolous confutation, although the greatest proof 
is the Swiss tongue, in which it is so written that it has no foreign 
or imported words. Yet, as I have said, since the man now 
doubtless burns among the shades as much as he froze here 
through his catabaptist washings, I have concluded to omit his 
name.* What impudence is this, O shade, in that you assert 
that I wish to ignore these words of Paul. Were these words 

*The editors of Zwingli's Works think that here, as on p. 155 and elsewhere, 
is an allusion to Balthasar Hubmaier because, as they say, (Ecolampadius an- 
nounced to Zwingli on July 19, 1527, that there was a rumor that Hubmaier 
had been burnt at the stake. The rumor was false and the editors made a slip, 
as this treatise of Zwingli's is dated July 31, 1527, and the letter of CEcolam- 
padius is really dated August 18, 1527. ( Works, viii., 85.) But the allusion 
probably is to Conrad Grebel, as already stated on p. 155. To burn among 
the shades it was not absolutely necessary to have been burnt at the stake first. 


not cited by Haetzer in the first two debates? Did not I 
reply that they were synecdochic, like i Cor. x. i : All our 
fathers were under the cloud? But there were infants also 
under the cloud, yet no individual mention is made of them. All 
crossed the sea. Yet the infants could not have crossed. 
Therefore they crossed who did not, but were borne by those 
who did. So in the family of Stephanas there were those who 
were the first believers of the Achaians ; there were also those 
who at the same time belonged to the church, who in actuality, 
because of age, not yet believed or took part in the ministry of 
the saints. All were baptized unto Moses. He speaks through- 
out of the fathers, the ancestors and forefathers, by which we 
understand that they who were then infants Paul now calls 
fathers, for out of these was the people of Israel. Therefore not 
only adults, but infants also, were baptized unto Moses. For if 
they who were infants at the crossing of the Red Sea. were not 
baptized, the apostle did not speak correctly in saying : All were 
baptized unto Moses, for they were, as I have just said, the 
fathers of their posterity. Whither do you turn now? Not to 
pass this by : Infants are written of by the apostle as then 
baptized. But you say it is a figure. Very good. It was a 
figure like this : As those infants then belonged to the family of 
their earthly and their heavenly Father and were sealed by their 
sacraments, so now also they who are children of Christians, since 
they are also sons of God, use the sacrament of God's sons. You 
will find no crack by which you can escape. For you argue 
foolishly to the negative from facts and examples, or rather from 
neither fact nor example. For what do you but say : The 
apostles are not said to have baptized infants, therefore infants 
are not to be baptized? Does not your whole strength turn on 
this one hinge? But we cannot so strive, but only by facts, if 
only one has to stand and judge by examples, as follows : The 
Hebrew children were all baptized in the cloud and in the sea, 
just as are ours. Paul, in the passage cited, tends in no other 


direction than to prove that they are as much initiated by our 
sacraments as we ourselves. It follows therefore, first, that in 
Paul's time it was the custom of the apostles to baptize infants ; 
second, if any one contradicts it he vitiates the opinion of Paul. 
What does this man here than the like? He says we are not 
superior to them, and they are not inferior to us. He attributes 
to them then the same sacraments as we have, and to us the 
same as they had, as in Col. ii. n. Those ancients could not 
all be baptized exactly as we are unless we were all baptized with 
our families. All these therefore being baptized and made equal 
with us, it is clear that as all their infants were baptized in the 
sea unto Moses, so also in the time of the apostle believers' chil- 
dren were baptized unto Christ. 

Now I return to the point, and assert that the children are 
spoken of by synecdoche in : All crossed the sea. For to be 
accurate crossing occurred only to those who were of an age and 
strength to cross, and that all ate the same spiiitual food when 
those alone ate who were spiritual, yet none the less it is said of 
all that they ate. So also in this place, if Paul had used the 
word " all " and had said : All of Stephanas' family have given 
themselves to the ministry of the saints, yet by the very force of 
synecdoche the infants also would be understood to be of the 
family, and [likewise] that they who then had believed had 
given themselves to the Lord. For this is the nature of synec- 
doche, that when as to any body that has different parts, and 
those parts are similar in some respects and different in others, 
anything is predicated of the whole body, it is understood of a 
part, and what is said of a part is understood of the whole. 
Here is an example of what I mean. All Judea went forth to 
him. You see that "All Judea " is put for those who went out, 
and the synecdoche is two-fold. One puts the container for the 
content and the other the whole for a part : the Judean region 
for the inhabitants, all the inhabitants for a good part of them. 
On the other hand see Is. iii. 16 : Because the daughters of Zion 


are haughty. Here the daughters of Zion are a part of the 
whole, yet they are put for the whole people, especially for the 
princes who erected haughty crests wickedly against the Lord. 
Ex. xvi. 2 : All the congregation murmured against Moses. But 
how did the children murmur? They were ignorant of what was 
done. But if they did not murmur the whole congregation did 
not murmur, for the children were also of the congregation. 
You see what sort of critics you are, laboring in logomachy and 
desperately ignorant of what you most trust in. For you cling to 
the letter alone, and are ignorant of what is of prime importance 
in expounding the letter. Tell me, pray, to whom was it said : 
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, and 
thou shalt not steal, and the like? Was it not to the ancients 
who were the people and church of God? But those things 
cannot be said to infants ; are these then not to be of the church 
and people of God? God forbid ! The children were members 
of the people of God, the fathers indeed of the people. Gen. 
xxv. 23. It is clear therefore that what is said with reference to 
some body or whole when there is a part of that whole to which 
what is said does not relate, that part none the less belongs to 
that body, even though what is said does not fit it. Again, if 
anything is said of a part of this body or whole which yet does 
not belong to that part at all, yet it so relates to the whole body 
that it touches and admonishes those parts that are subject to 
what is said, as is clear at once from the examples cited. 
" Thou shalt not steal " is not said to the infants, but to those 
who are under its responsibility. Again, the threat that Isaiah 
makes against the daughters of Zion pertains to all who oppressed 
men by their violence and haughtiness. So also I replied, though 
not in so many words, to that passage that Haetzer adduced from 
Paul, by which he would exclude the children from the family of 
Stephanas. Yet that family appears to have been pretty large, 
if we worthily weigh the generously ample words in which Paul 
treats of them. Children remain therefore till now in believers' 


families and are baptized, and when mention is made of those 
families, or they are written or spoken of, whatever is said or told 
pertains to that part to which it is applicable. I might adduce 
numberless examples, for the Hebrews use almost no figure more 
extensively, but I think a taste has been given by which you will 
easily tell all the rest. " Israel my inheritance." To whom was 
this said, if not to the Israelitic posterity? But children can 
not receive this. It does not follow therefore they did not 
belong to the inheritance or the peculiar people. But although 
there is a part that cannot understand what is said, that part 
none the less belongs to the whole body. So when Christ said : 
Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them, etc., the apostles taught 
all who were accessible to the doctrine, and they baptized all 
who were fitted for the sacrament of baptism. 

Catabaptists. Paul, a man of truth, wished in this first chapter 
[of First Corinthians] to show that he had baptized but few at 
Corinth, but Zwingli and his witnesses make Paul a liar, and say 
that he baptized many when they assert that he baptized infants 
in the house of Stephanas. 

Reply. Because we say that doubtless there were children in 
the families does it follow? Therefore they make Paul a liar, 
who asserts that he baptized but few. As if, though infants were 
baptized, they who were baptized by him could not be numbered 
still as a few ! What, pray, can you do with such a stupid kind 
of men? What kind of a church do you think that which I 
will not say believes, but listens to a man asserting such things? 

Catabaptists. Tenth. How the reality is, this text shows which 
says : Let no one say he was baptized in my name and thence be 
puffed up on my account. If infants then should speak and be 
factious (as those Zwinglians would have it) they were rightly 

Reply. See how fine they are at a syllogism ! Let no one say, 
says he, infants can not speak nor be factious, therefore they 
were not baptized. As if none could be factious but those who 


said they were of Apollos, Cephas or Paul ! Then, as if we had 
not just shown that by synecdoche that is to be understood of 
any part which is suitable to it. 

Catabapiists. Eleventh. It is not true that Paul baptized 
Corinthian children. 

Reply. Gently, I beg of you. 

Catabaptists. Why? Because he baptized believers alone or 
saw that they were baptized by others. 

Reply. Now you argue finely, for it follows at once : Believers 
only were baptized, therefore children could not have been 
baptized provided you can establish that exclusion, that be- 
lievers only were baptized by the apostles. 

Catabaptists. As we shall establish it from Acts xviii. aud xix., 
to the confusion and disproof of the misleading psedobaptist 

Reply. The mountain is laboring. 

Catabaptists. It is thus in the Acts, xviii. 8. When Paul was 
at Corinth, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the 
Lord with his whole house, and many Corinthians who heard at 
the same time (I translate faithfully and literally, perverting 
nothing, however those fellows struggle and stammer even in the 
German tongue) believed and were baptized. Infants could not 
hear, they could not then believe, much less be baptized. For 
the hearing faithful were baptized. And here the whole house 
was rendered faithful, from which infants are excluded, and they 
were so excluded because there were none there, or if there were 
they were not counted in it and accordingly not baptized, for the 
faithful families were baptized. 

Reply. Infants could not listen [to the word], but it does 
not follow that consequently they were not baptized. We have 
nowhere the prohibition not to baptize infants of believers unless 
they hear and believe. I require a prohibition forbidding. But 
you add beautifully : And here the whole house was rendered 
faithful. I grant it. You continue : From which infants were 


excluded. This I ask you to prove from sacred Scripture. I 
hear it said : Infants are excluded, but nowhere by a divine 
oracle. Here the whole dispute hinges. There was a strife 
among the apostles whether the gospel should be preached also 
to the Gentiles or not. This strife rested partly upon a false 
inference, partly upon probability. The fallacy was this - To us 
the Christ was promised, therefore not to the Gentiles. But who 
is so unskilled as not to see that it does not at all follow : The 
Messiah was promised to us Jews, therefore not to the Gentiles. 
For it may be that he was promised also to the Gentiles, and the 
Scriptures testify to this in various ways. So in the present 
passage : The writings of the apostles testify that they who heard 
and believed were baptized, but it does not at all follow that 
children were consequently not baptized by them. For it may 
at the same time be true that the apostles baptized believers, 
and the apostles baptized children. Just as it is true : The 
Hebrews circumcised adults, they also circumcised infants. For 
when adult, nay, decrepit, Abraham inflicted upon himself the 
wound of circumcision and upon the infants Ishmael and Isaac. 
You are mistaken therefore, O Catabaptists, when you make an 
indefinite proposition exclusive. An exclusive is either, no one 
ought to be baptized except he who first believes, or infants 
ought not to be baptized. But from : The apostles baptized 
believers, and from : The apostles are not said to have baptized 
believers, it does not follow. For " The apostles baptized 
believers," and " No one may be baptized unless he first believes " 
are not equivalent. So also with : " The apostles are not said to 
have baptized infants, therefore these were not baptized by them 
and may not be by us." For it may be that they baptized both 
believers and infants, and also either that they baptized infants, 
but the fact was not recorded, or that they did not baptize them, 
and still these were baptized by the ministers of the churches or 
may be rightly baptized. For [the apostles] were sent above all 
to preach, not to baptize. If you impute sophistry to me here, 


as the boldness of the calumniator suggests, recognize that the 
following is your syllogism, or rather paralogism : The apostles 
are not said to have baptized infants, therefore they did not, and 
these are not to be baptized. So that we are compelled to turn 
your weapons against yourselves. This is probably what led the 
apostles to think that the gospel was not to be preached to the 
Gentiles. In the first mission this interdict was given : Go ye 
not into the way of the Gentiles, from which it was possible for 
them to assert most strongly that it was intended by Christ that 
he should keep himself for the Hebrews alone. If you had had 
such a deliverance, ye gods, with what impudence would you 
have rushed upon us ! Consider therefore these two commands : 
Go ye and teach all the Gentiles, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father, etc., and : Go ye into all the world and preach, etc. 
Here we have the abrogation and annulment of the interdict : 
Go not into the way of the Gentiles. For they had before taught 
and baptized. They who thus far then had been shut up to the 
enclosure of Judea found opened to them the whole world. 
Thus, I will say in passing, you find these latter passages opposed 
like an antithesis to and abrogating : " Go not into the way of 
the Gentiles." You have not therefore yet proved the negative : 
" No one may be baptized but the believer." 

Catabaptists. So also Acts xvi. 31 has: Believe in the Lord 
Jesus and thou shalt be saved and thy house. And that his 
house was saved with him follows on : And they spake unto him 
the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. Then 
further : And he was baptized, and all his, straightway. He 
heard the word of the Lord, and so he was baptized, and all who 
were in his house; they, too, heard and so were baptized. 
Where again infants are excluded, for they could not hear and 
believe, as follows on : And he rejoiced with his whole house, 
because he had believed in God. 

Reply. To pass over some things translated into the Swiss 
tongue not with entire fidelity, I briefly say : This whole knot 


may be cut by the one axe of synecdoche. For if there were 
infants in that family, what is said about faith and doctrine we 
apply to those who could receive and believe, but what is said of 
baptism, to those who belonged to the family of the believing 
master, but through age or weakness neither heard nor believed. 
For when God said : Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one 
God, he spoke to all who were of Israel. But because the infants 
neither hear nor understand he does not exclude them so that 
they are not of the congregation of the people of God or should 
not be circumcised with all who hear and believe. 

Catabaptists. Twelfth. Philip preached to the whole city of 
Samaria, where doubtless there were infants. Yet Luke speaks 
in these insuperable words : And they were baptized, men and 
women. Men and women, says Luke. But if some sciolist 
should say, as a certain Wittenberg sophist lately did : Under 
the word women girls are also included, and under " men " males, 
this is fiction. For preceding these words we find : Philip 
preached, they believed. They, the men and women, I say, 
believed and were baptized. So here falls synecdoche, Zwingli's 
other basis. This synecdoche is a comprehensive mode of 
speech to the effect that where Scripture speaks of believers 
baptized, infants, too, are included among them, as he strives to 
prove by perverting the Sciipture passages that do not contain 

Reply. I pass over, O shade, what that Wittenbergian did with 
you while you were in the flesh. But this is sure, that this pass- 
age does not exclude infants, even though it does not mention 
them. For that does not exclude which does not explicitly 
mention ; for to pass over is one thing, to exclude, another. That 
may be omitted which is in no way excluded. The excluded 
can never come into the account. Since then the omitted, as 
well as those expressly mentioned, are included by synecdoche 
(as has been sufficiently shown), we are still waiting for you to 
prove that exclusion of yours by which you assert infants are 


excluded. For we have proved that by comprehension (/'. e., 
synecdoche, unless the Latin word is less appropriate than the 
Greek,) they are included. In that you promise to show how I 
had asserted synecdoche only by twisting Scripture, again you 
are rich in promising, but poor in fulfilment. For when you 
would tear away synecdoche, you establish it most firmly. 

Catabaptists. As in Acts ii. 44 : All who believed were 
together and had all things common. Here, says Zwingli, if 
believers alone were there, whither had they removed the infants? 
If they had cast them off, they would have been fine believers to 
disown the children against the command of the Lord. So the 
children of believers were also numbered with believers and were 
baptized with them. To which we reply : Zwingli speaks rightly 
when he says that they would not have been believers if they had 
cast off the children. For how could it be that these who had 
all things in common did not have the children common nor 
educate them in common, according to the precept of the Lord? 
Infants then are not numerated or reckoned among the believers, 
but are included in this, that the believers had all things common. 

Reply. You see, good reader, whither the lie turns itself. 
They would rather enumerate believers' children with their 
animals and baggage than with the parents, lest they be com- 
pelled by synecdoche to include them with believers. For they 
will not include them with : All who believed were there, but 
with : And they had all things common. Among them therefore 
children are not like dear pledges, are not our flesh and blood. 
For what else will they when they deny that they are included 
among the believers, and put them in what all have common? 
What tiger, pray, is so cruel? Surely to this pitch of insanity 
ought they to come who have put off not only the sense of piety, 
but also all human sensibility. Here I beseech you, pious heart, 
not to take offence at what I am about to say. For here it 
must be put down (not that I yield so much to passion, but that 
those things ought not to be ignored by all which those people 


secretly perpetrate, like what Alexander the coppersmith did to 
the divine Paul), so that we may the more easily guard ourselves 
from this pestilence. In describing their deeds I shall be free 
and brief. They have their wives common in such a manner as 
to desert their own marriage partners and take others ; so with 
the children, as to desert them and leave them for others to sup- 
port. These fine fellows, when lust persuades, make common a 
brother's wife, even his virgin daughter. Though the very force 
of nature requires that they cherish their children by the sweat 
of the body, they make them common to others. 

We have a man named Figella (Hafner ?), who lives about a 
mile from the city. He most contumaciously protected their 
teaching, and had got together for his house provision wherewith 
to spend the winter, and as often as meal-time came around the 
idle flies were present, prophesying finely about God, for they 
think their babblings worthy the name of prophecy. The father, 
wife and children were held fast by these wonders until the pro- 
visions were exhausted. The man then, least expecting what 
would happen, hoped to provide other food with the aid and 
assistance of his table companions ; he warned them that it was 
time to get to work providing nourishment. He talked to the 
deaf, for when he was compelled to lay the warp and set the woof 
(for he was a weaver), and looked for their help in some part, 
they began to praise God that his providence prepared and prom- 
ised all things for them as it were unsown and untilled, and laid 
hand to no work. Meanwhile he learned from his wife that they 
had attempted adultery with her under the pretext of piety, and 
[when] he saw that they were bellies, and not the angels he had 
a little before supposed them, he drove the scoundrels from his 
house, recovered his eyes and returned to the Church of Christ. 
Here you see how public they would have things. The lost 
fellows would have the goods of ordinary men common, but their 
own, if they have any, in no wise. If they have none they make 
all common in this way : they distribute the labor to others ; they 


enjoy leisure so as to do nothing, then they eat in common. So 
with wives, not to do away with the Republic of Plato,* they make 
common not their own, but others. This is proved by the fol- 
lowing : One of their leaders lived in a village about five miles 
out of the city,f a man of considerable wealth. His wife came to 
him in haste when he was going away that he might leave some- 
thing for the children. She asked blood from a stone. Mean- 
while the wife remained for the night, perhaps hoping that her 
blandishments would win something from him, and when the 
hour arrived she sought the couch of her husband, and the spirit- 
ual man replied to her : Did I not tell you that you came only for 
lust? He then cast her off, and called to him a Catabaptist girl. 
When the wife, foreboding evil, opposed this, he devoted her to 
evil. " You are carnal," he said, " and so you think and suspect 
carnal things. You will be damned eternally." Since her sus- 
picion was in no way shaken by the maledictions, she came to us 
and told us what her husband, elsewise so impatient of lust,, 
imposed upon them to believe /. e., about spiritual marriage. 
For there was room for the suspicion, since he had gone with the 
same girl on several occasions to St. Gall, and alone with her had' 
passed not only through groves and shady places, but had occu- 
pied her couch during the night. Now finally he disclosed the- 
mystery there was a spiritual marriage between them to which 
statement the wife gave no credence. So this fellow would have 
left his wife common to others that he might leave something 
common (he never touched her afterwards), unless she had kept 
her marriage vows with better faith than he, and took a common 
girl, or rather, made her common. 

I will give also another example. There were elsewhere also 
those who contracted spiritual marriages after a similar fashion; 
by silver rings they purchased of jewelers they bound girls and 
women spirits to them. There were such in the school of Valentine, 

* Allusion to the teaching in Plato's Republic, Book v. 
t This village probably was Zollicon, which was five miles out. 


as Irenseus testifies in his first book.* At St. Gall public charges 
were made against two girls who had been of unblamed modesty 
until they had gone over to the Catabaptists, but whose modesty 
had suffered shipwreck when their bodies were immersed in cata- 
baptism. They affirmed that they were betrothed in spiritual 
marriage, the rings being accepted, and in one night on one 
couch two Catabaptists had so loosed their virgin belts that the 
couch, groaning for a long time, at length, impatient of the 
burden, threw on the floor with one crash the two marriages. 
Those who heard the downfall swore solemnly that those spirits 
made such a sound that it appeared as if four bodies had fallen 
from on high. I beg you, reader, not to go away before consid- 
ering that the force of hypocrisy surpasses even the attack of lust. 
By which they may be the less self-complacent who, even if they 
were chaste (which I do not myself believe), yet were such in 
order to lay up for themselves this glory among mortals. For 
those very girls had before been tempted to the crime, but in 
vain. Hypocrisy is therefore more potent than the flesh, for 
under the pretext of the Spirit and by deceit it has carried the 
tower of virginity. Why should I speak of the open adulteries, 
which, although many, are few in comparison with those con- 
cealed by their skill? But who can fittingly tell of the awful 
murder which a brother perpetrated upon his own brother in St. 
Gall? t What ability in words can worthily set forth so great 

* Irenseus, Adv. Haer., I., vi., 3. The passage is as follows: 
" Some of them are in the habit of defiling those women to whom they have 
taught the above doctrine, as has frequently been confessed by those women 
who have been led astray by certain of them, on returning to the Church of 
God, and acknowledging this along with the rest of their errors. Others of 
them, too, openly and without a blush, having become passionately attached 
to certain women, seduce them away from their husbands and contract mar- 
riages of their own with them. Others of them again, who pretend at first to 
live in all modesty with them as sisters, have in course of time been revealed 
in their true colors, when the sister has been found with child by her [pretended] 
brother." {Ante Nicene Fathers^ Chr. Lit. Co., ed. i., 324.) 
t Thomas Schinker upon his brother Leonhard. 


atrocity? Or who is so dull as not to see that God has set forth 
this example for the good of all, so as the more to deter from this 
pernicious sect? A brother calls in a brother who is thinking of 
no such thing into the presence of his father, mother, sisters and 
the whole family, and orders him to kneel in the midst. The 
fanatical fellow obeys, thinking his brother is going to show some 
wonder. Doubtless the parents had the same expectation, for 
almost daily among them something new is born, as in Africa. 
But when this one had kneeled, the other seized a sword which 
he had brought for this purpose, drove it through his neck and 
cut off his head, which rolled to the feet of his parents, and left 
him lifeless. From his trunk poured a great quantity of blood. 
All there fell and became [as] lifeless in madness. The murderer 
himself ejaculated : The will of God is fulfilled. Like a madman 
he came into the city and cried out to the Burgomaster : I an- 
nounce to you the Day of the Lord. For at that time they were 
appointing as the day of the Lord that Ascension Sunday that 
passed two years ago. I cannot jest here at that murderous sect, 
for the deed was too atrocious to admit any mirth. They assert 
for many other, but especially for this reason, that a Christian 
may not exercise the magistracy, that a Christian may kill no one. 
And at the same time they all deny that they can judge that crime 
I have been describing. A parricide therefore is not charged 
among them, while a homicide is. 

Now I return to the matter. Not without reason will they not 
reckon among believers the children of believers who live with 
the church ; they put them among the things that are common, 
for they make a man as valuable as a beast nay, a beast loves 
more truly a kindred beast than that murderer his own brother. 
What is there wonderful then about their using virgins and 
matrons as they do beasts and baggage animals? Among them 
it is no crime to lay murderous hand upon a brother ; how much 
less will they hear an accusation of adultery and lewdness ! 
Those who are rebaptized unite with a church that denies, if they 


themselves commit it, that adultery and harlotry is a crime. For 
to that purport once he who is now a shade said to me, when 
they were asserting that they were without sin : They would at 
once shut out from the church him who committed any wrong. 
I at once reminded him of the man who had committed adultery 
at Wesen ;* he replied : Even though he committed adultery, he 
did not sin. They who are in our church cannot sin. Then I 
said : So adultery is not sin among you? There is no adultery 
with us, he said : I will not say whether [adultery] is sin or not ? 
but that is not adultery which you think is. For since we have 
one and the same spirit nothing can take place with us which is 
sin, for as we have one spirit so also we have one body. This 
sentiment they now preach in open terms. Those who are re- 
baptized unite also with a church that does not know to judge 
parricide [fratricide]. But the most noble senate of St. Gall 
a city that is most regardful of the glory of Christ executed 
the parricide [fratricide] at the prayers of parents and kinsmen, 
and thereafter, a sign being given by the Lord, suppressed so 
prudently this evil that nowhere are there fewer Catabaptists, 
although in the beginning their number was very great. For 
that whole family had been immersed, and the house itself was 
the meeting place of the Catabaptists the house where a brother 
dipped his murderous hand in his brother's blood. From this 
one might rightly say that it was stricken with death by divine 
justice, both on account of the family and the Catabaptists. 

Catabaptists. Otherwise Zffingli would be compelled to admit 
because of the following context that infants sold their goods and 
distributed them, which is impossible, and has nothing to do with 
them, for the property was their believing parents'. And from 
the context it would follow that the infants who are reckoned 
among believers, and so baptized, were obliged to celebrate the 

* At the west end of the Lake of Walenstadt, no mean rival of Lake Lucerne, 
some twenty miles southeast of Zurich. There Zwingli had passed his boyhood 
in his uncle's house. 


Lord's Supper because they were baptized. Similarly they must 
have prayer with the other believers, for the preceding and fol- 
lowing context is as follows : And they continued steadfastly in 
the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread 
and prayer. Who steadfastly continued? All that became 
believers. If then infants became believers, or were numbered 
with them, they also broke bread, which no reason can make out, 
and they were also not baptized. For if they were baptized, they 
also broke bread, which Zwingli himself will not maintain. Now 
see how synecdoche hangs together ! 

Reply. Why do you charge me viciously with a skill in arguing 
which I never assumed, but [which] is deceitfully attributed by 
those who cannot sustain the force of the truth on which I rely, 
since this whole paragraph is only vicious reasoning? For when 
you oppose synecdoche, you make clear that you do not yet see 
what synecdoche is. For you do not yet understand that there 
is no synecdoche where the words are received in their simple 
and true sense. For where this is the case there is no figure. 
That discourse is figurative which does not bring us the sense 
which the first aspect of the words carries. Synecdoche is a 
figure, so where synecdoche is some other than the open meaning 
is hidden. Hence when you thus infer : If infants were num- 
bered among the believers, they broke bread, prayed, sold their 
goods and distributed to the needy, you take everything according 
to the letter. What then? Do you wish to eliminate synecdoche 
from the passage? Why not say then: This passage does not 
admit synecdoche, and then prove it by argument and evidence? 
But this cannot be done, since I have proved more than suffic- 
iently above that infants belong to the family of the parents, and 
that you act not only impiously, but inhumanly, when you prefer 
to include believers' infants among baggage and goods rather 
than among believers. If, however, you have come to the poin 
of confessing this discourse to be figurative indeed, but here 
require of synecdoche that whatever is said of the whole body be 


true of all its parts (as every one sees you do think when he looks 
closely into your teachings), you are wholly in error. For that is 
not synecdoche where, as we have said, what is said of the whole 
is true of each part, for then there is no figure. But that is 
synecdoche when a part of any body is received for the whole, or 
the whole for a part. I have shown this by the clearest examples. 
Still, that you may be supplied with all abundantly, hear this. In 
Ex. xxiii. 1 7 it is written : Three times a year all thy males shall 
appear before the Lord thy God. Notice this word " all." Tell 
me, then, were infants in the cradle from all Palestine carried 
thrice a year to Jerusalem? If so, then according to your argu- 
ment, they ate unleavened bread for seven days, sowed the fields 
and offered the firstfruits. But since they did not do this it 
follows that [all] males were not included. If they were not 
brought it is not true that every male appeared thrice a year 
before the Lord. "All males " is therefore synecdoche, and 
however on first appearance it seems as though every male is 
ordered to be present at the three feasts, they alone are bound 
by the law who were so old that they could receive the instruc- 
tion or offer firstfruits or bear branches of trees, according to the 
variety of the feast or manner of celebration. So also when Deut. 
xxxi. 11-13 speaks of appearing at the reading of the law at 
the celebration of [the feast of] tabernacles it appears that those 
boys came who were beginning to understand what was read. 
So also Luke ii. 42 shows from Christ, who when 12 years old 
was a participant at the Passover, that they appeared who could 
themselves make the journey and understand what was done. At 
the feast of Pentecost it appeared that they alone went up who 
offered the firstfruits, a duty of the father or his representative. 
Here therefore is synecdoche. Again, Ex. xxxiv. 19 : Every 
male that openeth the womb shall be mine. This can not bear 
synecdoche. For it so pertains to all the firstborn [males] that 
none is left exempt. I think you now see how crude and un- 
learned is your argumentation, since you do not deny synecdoche 


in the passage : They who believed were together, yet contend 
that all must be predicated of each part that is contained in the 
whole of which the synecdoche treats. But you do not consider 
the composition of the word itself sun and ex with dechomai, as if 
you would say : When I take the whole body I understand some- 
thing separate from among those things which are together 
included in that body. Or : When I take some part of the body 
I understand the whole body. So that the Latin cornprehensio 
does not quite correspond with the Greek. Then when you con- 
tend thus : If then infants were counted among the believers, or 
were made believers, they also broke the bread, a thing that 
cannot at all be, and so they were not baptized. For if they 
were baptized, they would also have broken the bread. You 
reason wretchedly, so that it is clear to all who read your produc- 
tions with judgment that you are all impostors. For since you 
leaders are not so untaught as not to see how wretchedly you 
reason, and since none the less you offer to the untaught vicious 
syllogisms, you cannot be saved from being impostors even by 
the Saviour himself. For what constrains it to follow here that 
they who were baptized also broke bread? Were there not 
among the ancients circumcised infants who yet did not tear the 
lamb nor eat unleavened bread? Or because thrice a year they 
were not present, were they therefore not of God's people? Learn 
then that infants were counted among believers and were bap- 
tized, and that of believers those actually believed, prayed, dis- 
tributed property, broke the Lord's bread, who had come to such 
age and understanding as to be fitted for this and subject to the 
observance, as is clear from the examples drawn from Exodus 
and Deuteronomy. Every male was directed to be present at the 
feast, the women and boys at the reading of the law ; but how- 
ever the letter reads, by synecdoche is understood every class 
according to its manner and understanding. What have squalling 
[infants] to do with the reading of the law, or adolescents with 
the offering of firstfruits, unless the father directs them? 


The thing itself compels me willy nilly, good reader, to cease 
to give the vain words of the Catabaptists and to draw to a close. 
So hereafter I will act thus : I will untie every knot, and what- 
ever is said by them that has any force I will adduce with such 
fidelity as I have thus far in rendering it literally into Latin. And 
for this reason in particular, that what they have thus far adduced 
against the figurative sense has been in great part refuted. What 
they have argued about the Testament will be so treated and 
torn away when we reach the Testament. 

The arguments against the synecdoche in i Cor. x. 9 : All our 
fathers were under the cloud, they all crossed the sea, all were 
baptized unto Moses, all ate the same spiritual food the argu- 
ments, I say, that they bark out against these synecdoches are so 
foolish and impure that they are not to be taken into account- 
For they say they know that they ate, drank, crossed the sea, 
went to stool and urinated, but it must be proved by us by clear 
Scripture that infants were baptized. After that they insult us 
this way : See now how Zwingli stands with his synecdoche, which 
he affirms with his own peculiar cunning and sophistry, lest by 
acknowledging the truth he may suffer the persecution of the 
cross of Christ. What can you do with these men? That I might 
expound synecdoche correctly I adduced these examples, which 
they are so far from tearing away that he who will may use them, 
not only as examples of synecdoche, but to show also that in the 
apostles' time believers' infants were baptized, as I have indicated 
above. They approach the matter with bitterness, since they 
can do nothing by the sharp energy of the word of God. They 
charge cunning and sophistry, which I so express my abhorrence 
of that all my writings can free me from the charge better than 
any oration prepared for this purpose. But I recognize and cher- 
ish the truth. And I should have to endure nothing if I should 
adopt your opinion, unless you are most mendacious, for you have 
promised oftener than I can say that all will eventuate happily if 
I join you. But you had to have recourse to calumnies and shouts 


when you undertook to overthrow synecdoche, for you saw this to 
be impossible. This remains, and will ever remain, synecdoche : 
The fathers were all baptized, the fathers all ate the same spiritual 
food with us, as was shown in the foregoing sufficiently and will 
be treated again in the following. Thus far I have replied to the 
first part of your refutation, to the rest I will do the same in the 
course of the disputation. Now I proceed to the second part. 


This part is to overthrow the foundations of your superstition ; 
although you have never published them, yet hardly any of your 
people exist who have not a copy of these well founded laws, as you 
call them. Why, pray, do you not publish what are so divine and so 
salutary? But counsels evilly conceived fear the light, and are 
terrified at the judgment of learned and pious men. For this 
reason you do not publish the dogmas, articles, principles of your 
superstition. I therefore shall expose them to the world, trans- 
lated faithfully and literally into Latin. As in the first part, your 
position shall come first, then the refutation. 


Articles which we have drawn up and to which we agree, viz. : 
Baptism, abstention, breaking of bread, avoidance of abominable 
pastors in the church, [of love], sword and [of wrong] oath. 

To this article I say the same as the apostle in Col. ii. 20 : If 
ye be dead with Christ from the elements of the world, how is it 
that you set forth decrees or dogmas as though you were in the 
world ? But I know what you will say : These are not human 
dogmas, articles, principles, but divine oracles. To which I reply : 
Why then do you say you have drawn them up and agreed to 
them? If they are divine, why do you call them the articles of 
your conspiracy? Why do you smear the mouth of the divine 
word with your human ordure? If not [divine], why do you 
impose new decrees upon the necks of your brethren? You 


would therefore rule in the Lord's stead, secretly lead into 
captivity, and place a check on brethren's liberty. For however 
you turn you need no new articles ; divine providence does not 
need your consent, which is nothing else than conspiracy. But 
thus heavenly wisdom orders all things. As often as we apply to 
you the term "sect," because you have withdrawn from the churches 
that confess and embrace Christ, you at once reply that you 
cherish no sect. And now you yourselves produce this beautiful 
offspring of yours. Is not he a heretic who has conspired unto 
particular articles, though you with a more respectable nomen- 
clature denominate it an agreement? But now I turn to the 
overthrow of the foundations of your articles, so that the world 
may see that what you affirm to be divine is fanatical, foolish, 
bold, impudent. This is not too severe. 

Catabaptists. First learn of baptism. Baptism should be 
administered to all who have been taught penitence and change 
of life, and who believe really that their sins are done away with 
through Christ, and in general who wish to walk in the resurrec- 
tion of Jesus Christ, and who wish to be buried with himself into 
death that they may rise again with him. So we administer it to 
all who demand it and require it of us themselves after this 
manner. By this all baptism of infants is excluded that chief 
abomination of the Roman pontiff. For this article we have the 
testimony and support of Scripture ; we have also the custom of 
the apostles, which we shall preserve in simplicity and also in 
firmness. For we have been made sure. 

Reply. Behold, good reader, in how many ways these jugglers 
impose upon the judgment of the simple. For, first, who does 
not know that baptism should be administered to all in Christ, 
both penitents and those confessing that remission of sins is 
found? There is no contest here, but whether it may be given to 
those alone and not to their infant children. Second, they con- 
ceal justification by works, and though they admit remission of 
sins through Christ here, they clearly deny it elsewhere. For 


they who trust in works make Christ of no effect. For if justi- 
fication is by the works of the law, Christ has died in vain. Third, 
they yet do not conceal it so thoroughly as to betray their opinion 
by no sign. For when they say that remitted are the sins of all 
who wish to walk in the resurrection of Christ and to be buried 
with him in death, they elevate free will, and next to that justifica- 
tion by works. For if it is in our choice or power to walk in the 
resurrection of Christ, or to be buried with him in death, it is 
open for any one to be a Christian and a man of perfect excel- 
lence. Then Christ spoke falsely the words : No one can come 
to me except the Father who sent me draw him. Finally here is 
discovered their chiefest evil : When they refuse an oath to the 
magistrate who asks it, they plead this reason : According to the 
word of Christ a man cannot change a hair of his head to make 
it shine white or be dim with blackness. But here they say : 
They who wish to walk according to him, and then : Who them- 
selves demand of us ; after, of course, they have promised that 
they will walk according to the resurrection of Christ. Will he 
then who makes this promise be able to walk according to the 
stipulation or not? If so, why then will he not swear to do this 
or that when he is able ? If not, you in like manner ought not 
to demand that he promise to walk according to Christ lest he 
become a liar, as you forbid him to swear lest he become a per- 
jurer. Fourth, where in the Scripture do you read that baptism 
is to be given none except to him who can make a confession 
and demand baptism? Of yourselves do you assert this, for 
circumcision was most often given to those who could neither 
make confession nor demand. But you reject the whole Old 
Testament. This is what you clearly betray in the former con- 
futation. This point ought to have been treated by me, but it 
has fallen out. It therefore comes in properly here when you 
say : There is no need for me to seek baptism in the Old Testa- 
ment. By which do you not despise the Old Testament? And 
yet Christ submitted himself and his teaching to it, and the 


apostles used no other Scripture, indeed they could not, since 
until after the beginning of their preaching there was no Scrip- 
ture as yet other than that drawn from [the Old Testament]. 
Here therefore your error, in which you do not consider the 
analogy of the sacrament as does the apostle Paul in i Cor. x. 
and Col. iii., so that we ought not to neglect his example your 
error, I say, causes you to deny that in all Scripture the sign 
of the covenant is given to any except to one who makes 
confession and demand according to your way of thinking. 
But is not this deciding dogmas and ordinances? Fifth, 
you say : We have the testimony and support of Scripture for 
this article. Who lies? to use a German taunt. Produce that 
Scripture testimony of yours, and all strife will be laid. Sixth, 
where do you find this custom of the apostles to baptize no one 
who had not made this confession of yours and forthwith de- 
manded baptism? Seventh, they say: Which we simply and at 
the same time firmly will preserve. For we have been made 
sure. Why do they promise to do what is not in their power? 
But if they refer to baptism, /. e., that they will baptize according 
to this rite, again they dogmatize, /. e., make decrees. This they 
themselves recognize, for they add : For we have been made 
sure. If they could show from Scripture the firmness of these 
ordinances, they would doubtless adduce it. But since they 
cannot, they have recourse to revelation and the confirmation 
of the Spirit. We are made sure, they say himself said 
it. Here we ought not to omit in passing the fact that this 
has caused their error about the resurrection they do not see 
that Paul in Rom. vi. 4 uses an argument from the external 
sign in order to exhort the more ardently to the imitation of 
Christ. But wherever they find the word baptism, even though 
the discussion is not about the sacrament, the truth striving to 
the contrary, they twist it to some perversion. 

Catabaptists. Second. This is our opinion regarding absten- 
tion or excommunication : All ought to be excommunicated who 


after they have given themselves to the Lord that they may walk 
in his precepts, and who have been baptized into the one body of 
Christ and are called brothers or sisters, yet either slip or fall 
into sin and imprudently are thrown headlong. Men of this sort 
ought to be admonished twice in private ; the third time they 
should be corrected publicly before the church according to the 
precept of Christ. But this ought to be done according to the 
ordinance and command of the divine Spirit before the breaking 
of bread, so that all who break and eat one bread and drink from 
one cup may be together in unison in the same love. 

Reply. If I am silent as to this law I shall seem to approve it, 
but if I touch on certain things I shall appear captious. Since 
then it is all so crude that it smells of nothing but a three days' 
theologian, I will myself suffer that in this place ignorance be 
called simplicity, and will note in a few words a few things which 
ought not to be winked at. They err then in this when they 
say : The third time they ought to be corrected publicly before 
the assemblage. For the third time they should be admonished 
by the church, not corrected. Then if they hear not the church 
as it warns they should be expelled. Second, they err again 
when they say this should be before the breaking of bread, unless 
you understand by this the denunciation customary among the 
ancients, which only forbade to the excommunicated who had 
before been cast out the breaking of bread with them. Ex- 
communication did not take place then unless the occasion 
demanded it, but access was denied the excommunicate to the 
feast of the church. This I say because it is the Catabaptists' 
opinion that they should refuse to celebrate the communion unless 
those who are to do it first confess or bear witness that they are 
about to pronounce excommunication or banishment [from the 
communion]. I do not think this is according to the custom 
of the apostles, who seem to have celebrated the supper of the 
Lord without interdict of this sort. But where one had been 
convicted of a great crime he was already banned. And I think 


it sprung from that usage that before the Lord's Supper the 
excommunicate and banned were publicly interdicted. I do not 
think it came from the institution of Christ that some ancients 
and some moderns had and have the custom of thus warning : 
Let no homicide, usurer, adulterer, drunkard, etc., approach. 
For if an adulterer or drunkard, or one addicted to any other 
crime, defile the church he ought to be warned according to the 
command of Christ, and if he refuse to confess after the testi- 
mony of witnesses before the church he ought to be shunned or 
to be excluded from the church, but so only if contumacious. 
But if only rumor travels around (it is sometimes mendacious), 
or he who is under suspicion can rightly ward it off, so that he 
appears to carry himself honestly, then he ought not rashly to be 
excommunicated, unless the thing is absolutely certain for which 
he is excommunicated. This I say not of myself, but after com- 
paring carefully and weighing the words of Jesus on this subject. 
For when he says to Peter that one is to be forgiven seventy-seven 
times, and in another place orders the tares to be permitted to 
grow until harvest, he evidently shows that there are some things 
at which fraternal love may wink. But when, on the other hand, 
he commands to expel straightway after the reproof of the church 
has been despised he surely means in those matters which are 
manifest and may defile the church. For there are some, sad to 
say, too ready on one side or the other. Some who think that 
nothing reaches to the point of requiring dismission, perhaps 
because they labor under the same or an equal disease ; there are 
others who, if some passion persuades them, at once cry out : 
Why is he not excommunicated? Moderation therefore in this 
matter with the greatest diligence (which is to be sought from 
the Lord) is to be observed here. But what reason is there why 
the Catabaptists should say aught to us about excommunication 
when they have not considered the judgment of, or how they 
ought to judge, the murder that took place in St. Gall, when a 
Catabaptist murdered a Catabaptist and a brother a brother? 


Catabaptists. Third. In the breaking of bread we thus agree 
and unitedly determine that they who wish to break one bread in 
commemoration of the broken body of Christ, and to drink of 
one cup in commemoration of his shed blood, shall first come 
together into one body of Christ, that is the church of God, in 
which Christ is the head. And this is particularly through bap- 
tism. For, as the divine Paul teaches, we cannot be at the same 
time participants of the Lord's table and the demons', nor can 
we be participants at the same time of the Lord's cup and the 
devils'. /. <?., all who have communion with the dead works of 
the shades have no communion with those who are called from 
this world to God. All who are settled in evil have no part with 
the good. Therefore it ought to folow that they who have not 
the calling of their God to one faith, to one baptism, to one spirit, 
to one body with all the sons of God, they cannot unite in one 
bread. But doubtless this must be done if one wish to break 
bread according to the precept of Christ. 

Reply. Hither, doubtless, all this superstition tends, that the 
untaught people, that rises to every novelty, be led away into 
catabaptism and to an evil church. You admit no one to the 
Lord's Supper unless he have first united by baptism into the one 
body of Christ. So by baptism as by a cement each one is 
united to this body. Why then do you strive so mightily that 
no one be baptized unless he first believe and confess with his 
own mouth? See how consistent you are ! But you would not 
speak here of the church's baptism, but of heretical baptism, 
/. e., your sect's, and this, as it is born outside the church, is 
justly called pseudo- or catabaptism (some prefer " anabap- 
tism "). Since then you do not recognize rebaptism or centra- 
baptism, though nevertheless against the standing custom of 
Christ's church and against the divine law, by your baptism you 
crucify Christ again (for as he was once dead and once was 
raised from the dead, so he desires to have once baptized him 
who loves Christ) ; you do not dare to call your rebaptism cata- 


baptism, but you call " baptism " that which is rebaptism. And 
while your words appear as though you were unwilling to admit 
any one to the table of the Lord unless he has been baptized, 
what you mean really is that no one in your evil church should 
hope to be a participant at the table of the Lord unless he has 
been rebaptized. This is what you mean, I say. Behold the 
tricks of the impostors, my reader. They talk simply about bap- 
tism, but will not be understood about simple but about double 
baptism. To this the confirmation of their law bears witness 
when they add : For, as the divine Paul teaches, we cannot at 
the same time participate at the Lord's table and at demons'. 
By which they mean only that initiates who were baptized in 
youth belong to the demons, though they beautifully cover up 
this error so as not to be compelled to answer a new question 
which is beyond them, /. e., whether the baptism which we as 
children received is not sufficient? For they were vanquished 
by us when they at length declared this baptism to be from the 
Roman pontiff, and so from a demon. Nevertheless they carry 
around a long document in their church, in which they show 
from the decrees of the pontiffs that infant baptism was begun 
under popish rule wicked men that they are, since I showed 
them before that in Origen's time, who lived about 150 years 
after Christ's ascension, baptism was in common use, and after- 
wards in Augustine's time, who flourished about 400 years after. 
For both testify that infant baptism had remained to their own 
times from the custom of the apostles. But in those times the 
name of pope, and also monarchy or tyranny, had not come into 
the churches. And I refuted their statement (that you may lose 
nothing of our side, reader,) that the baptism of the pope is not 
Christ's, but a demon's, in the following way : If baptism were of 
the pope alone, I would not object to their calling the pope's bap- 
tism either " not Christ's " or a demon's. But the baptism of 
Christ is not the pope's, even though the pope were the arch- 
demon himself and used Christ's baptism, for when the devil 


used the prophet's word in the temptation of Christ, the prophet's 
word did not become the devil's ; and again, when the demons 
cried out : " Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God," so 
salutary a confession was no less salutary because a demon made 
it ; so when the pope baptized not in his own name, but in that 
of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost, it could in no way be 
vitiated so as not to be the baptism of Christ's church. In the 
second place Christ himself said : " He that is not against us is 
with us." The pope therefore has this much of good, that he 
baptizes in no other name than that in which we were baptized ; 
in this he is with us as was he [with Christ] who expelled a 
demon by the power of Christ's name, although he neither fol- 
lowed nor cherished Christ. Finally the apostles have left us in 
the matter of matrimony a fine example, both in this matter and 
in others which pertain to disputes about externals. For as some 
had married among the Gentiles before the apostles had carried 
to them the salutary teaching of the gospel, so they [the apostles] 
left those marriages intact. This is clear from the testimony of 
Paul in i Cor. vii. 13, where he commanded the faithful wife to 
dwell with the unbelieving husband, provided she did what was 
pleasing to him. This is nothing but the confirmation of the 
marriage laws which each nation had, even of those marriages 
entered upon in idolatry. Equally therefore we may not repudiate 
a baptism which is not only not founded upon the pope's invention 
or authority, but depends upon the authority of Christ himself 
and the apostles. For the popes baptized in no other name than 
that of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But in whose name do 
they suppose marriages among idolaters were made? Yet the 
apostles left these marriages whole and intact, no matter what 
the laws and gods under which they were undertaken. The more 
therefore will baptism be untouched by us when it is given in that 
name in which we give it, even though the pope have adminis- 
tered it. Then they offered as objection too hatefully the matters 
of salt, butter, saliva, mud and that class of things, nay, even the 


prayers made over infants, on the ground that neither John nor 
the apostles are said to have begun or celebrated baptism with 
prayer. To which I replied, first as to ceremonial : Christ re- 
stored some blind men to sight by the medium of touch or of mud 
others by the words " Receive thy sight " alone, and they saw no 
less distinctly who regained sight by the medium of touch or mud 
than they who did by the words alone. But we care nothing for 
those externals if the church orders them to be abolished, and it 
has been brought about that it forthwith gave the order, we who 
preside over the church not being ignorant that in the beginnings 
of the church there was need of these things, though not so much 
was attributed to them as in our times, whence we cut them off 
without difficulty. As to the prayers which they attempted also 
to tear away, I replied : The Lord Jesus himself prayed over the 
infants brought to him. What madness is it then to be unwilling 
that we pray over infants ! I had the best of it in this part, the 
Catabaptists in the other. All this, I say, they know and conceal 
in their false church, or rather their conspiracy. And so, to return 
from my digression, since they know from these reasons and this 
basis of Scripture that it is not the pope's baptism, but Christ's, 
in which we are baptized, and yet they contemn it, it is clear that 
they act by no right or reason, but in violence and fury by 
which they call, though not truly yet plausibly, their own rebap- 
tism baptism so as to be able to draw the hearts of the untaught 
to a rebaptism. 

Finally, lest by their words it may be manifest whither they 
tend, they bring finally an exposition of this their baptism and 
separation, /. <?., they say : All who have communion with the 
dead works of the shades have no communion with those who 
are called from the world to God. You will consider diligently 
all this, reader, and I am sure you will discover by what wiles and 
stratagems they allure to their conspriacy untaught men. Do 
you not see that in this exposition they wish to seem to intend 
only that they who most impudently sin ought not to attend the 


supper of the Lord? But while you see this most clearly, do 
they not do this same thing under the action of the law of excom- 
munication or banning that immediately precedes? Therefore 
whither reaches the treatment of one and the same cause under 
two constitutions? You infer therefore with no trouble that by 
this principle they wish no matter what string of words they 
put together that he who would come with them to the table of 
the Lord must also be rebaptized in their catabaptism, and that 
they who were baptized as infants these men consider to be of 
the devil's table. This is therefore the sense of their exposition 
men who have gone over to the church of their rebellion and 
conspiracy belong to those who have been called of God from 
the world, but they who will not with them betray the church of 
Christ belong to those who communicate with dead works. For 
their words and daily abuse testify to this. For when they see 
marriages or public feasts celebrated among us they straightway 
cry out : They are Gentiles, and are of the world, not of the 
church. And they accept as satisfactory neither that Christ and 
the apostles appeared at a marriage nor that the tribes of Israel 
celebrated joyously three times a year, nor that the Lord's Supper 
would have perpetually remained a friendly feast if the Corin- 
thians had not abused it or indeed anything else. You see how 
on the one side what unjust judges they are, in that as soon as 
they see those things done among us which Christ himself did 
not abhor, they traduce, curse and condemn. And on the other 
hand, how sincerely they act when they think of themselves so 
finely that they boast that they are the people who have been 
called to God from the world. As if indeed lewdness, adultery, 
murder, hatred, envy, arrogance, hypocrisy in which these people 
excel all mortals were not worldly. I am not speaking of the im- 
moderate expense, voluptuousness and wantonness of marriages and 
feasts, but I am so far from condemning joy in moderation that I 
think he who takes it away from the pious will have to restore it 
with interest. In a word, by this law they mean that no one shall 


approach their supper unless he has been rebaptized, unless he 
has been called to God from the world, i. e., unless he is of the 
church and heresy of the Catabaptists. For whatever they do or 
say, a conspiracy it is, according to the word of the prophet in 
Is. viii., and a most wretched pretence. For what iniquity is 
equal to his who prefers himself to others on account of his inno- 
cence and who winks at no slip of his brother's, when he ought 
to forgive seventy and seven times, even if he were really most 
innocent who so acts? But what do I? They were not of us, 
therefore they have gone away from us. 

Catabaptists. Fourth. We thus decide about the revolt, sepa- 
ration and avoidance, which ought to be manifested as to that 
evil planted by the devil that we have no commerce with those 
nor agree with them in the communication of their abominations, 
/. e., inasmuch as all who have not yet yielded in obedience to 
faith, and have not yet given their name to the Lord as wishing 
to do his will, are exceedingly abominable in the sight of God, 
therefore nothing is done by them that is not abominable. Now 
in the world and in all creation there is nothing else but good 
and evil, faithful and unfaithful, darkness and light, worldly and 
those out of the world, the temple of the Lord and idols, Christ 
and Belial, and no one of these can have part with the other. 
Known to us also is the precept of the Lord in which he orders 
us to separate from evil, for then he will be our God and we 
shall be his sons and daughters. Hence he commanded us to go 
forth from Babylon and the Egyptian land lest we share their 
evils and penalties which the Lord is going to bring upon them. 
From all of which we ought to learn that what is not united to 
our God and Christ is nothing but an abomination which we 
should shun. Here we understand are all the popish and secundo- 
popish works and the contentions of idolatry, processions to 
churches, homes of feastings, states and alliances of unbelief and 
many like things. They are held by the world in esteem, yet 
nevertheless they fight and lead directly against the precept of 


Christ according to the measure of wickedness that is in the 
world. We ought to be alien and separate from all of these ; 
they are pure abominations, which make us hateful to Christ, who 
has freed us from servitude to the flesh and made us fit for the 
service of God through the spirit of God which he has given us. 
By the strength of this constitution, there fall away from us the 
devilish arms of violence, such as swords and other arms and 
things of this character, and all use of them for either friend or 
enemy by reason of this word of Christ : Ye must not resist evil. 
Reply. What they mean by so confused a statement, which is 
so torn and patched that it contains nothing sound and fresh, 
you would hardly divine if they had not said in the title of the 
work that they dealt with the avoidance of abominable pastors in 
the church. First, they have so heaped together those statements 
of nothing in the world but good and evil, Christ and Belial, and 
the other matters these divine men have piled up together, that 
they would be very fine, and would give a reason for not assem- 
bling in our churches. You must not suppose this is horror of 
popish pastors. It is against us they rail in this fashion. For 
they meet with the popish and do not shun their meetings. We 
who stand by the gospel are assailed here. The reason is that 
we alone show up and shun catabaptism and their wholesale 
sedition. By the papists we are called heretics, by the catabap- 
tists secundopapists, because we preserve in the church infant 
baptism and some other things which they will have nothing of. 
So are we exercised in the Lord's glory that we may bring to him 
a victory the more excellent the more numerous those are by 
whom we are assailed. I will show in a few words the deceit 
they conceal in the words of this article. What they allege from 
Scripture about separation is not said in the sense to which they 
wrest it. For otherwise we should be compelled to retire not 
only from the world, as Paul says, but also from the church. 
For there is nothing human so holy and blameless that it does 
not fail in some part. We ought therefore first to be separated 


from ourselves, of which Christ also speaks. Who hates his own 
life in this world, he says, saves it for life eternal. This separa- 
tion results when we daily set forth a desire for betterment, and 
with our might exhort the brethren to this by example and 
prayer. But according to this we do not seek to be separate 
from those who have infirmities in common with us. The thing 
itself warns us, if only we be truly pious and cherish God, how 
far in each case we must bear. Nay, we should hear piety alone 
in this matter of condemning or seceding, so that establishing 
another law is neither possible nor due. Second, we are sepa- 
rated from those who are not weak, but malign, a thing that both 
piety and love will teach. For Christ himself also taught that 
the contumacious and impudently wicked man ought to be 
shunned only when he had reached in obstinacy the point of not 
respecting the church. But I know whither tends this supercilious 
avoidance. As soon as they have allured one to their faction, 
above all they forbid him to go for a month at least, if they can- 
not get it for all time or for longer, to any assemblage where one 
teaches who is opposed to their sect. And this order is at the 
beginning strongly suspected by those who are not yet wholly 
demented. Indeed, many who return to a good mind testify to 
this. For they immediately think of the apostles' : " Prove all 
things." In order that by the figure of anticipating arguments 
they may cut off consideration of this among foolish men, they 
show great diligence in inculcating separation. They therefore 
condemn conventions, even those in which for the most honor- 
able purposes the city holds assembly, for there are always found 
men who arraign the audacity of the men. And it is strange 
that they have omitted here what elsewhere they have urged as 
a prime objection. In the assemblies of the city [they allege] 
murders often take place as if this did not happen more fre- 
quently in the market place and the country. According to that 
we must not assemble in the country or the market place. They 
condemn also the processions to the churches ; they do this with 


such a form of words as might seem to apply to those votive 
processions which we formerly engaged in to the image at Lau- 
retum, Baden, Oetingen and elsewhere, while really they con- 
demn the processions to the churches appointed for certain days. 
These grieve them, for they prefer those where many meet in 
some wood by night rather than by day, when the way home has 
to be felt out through the dense darkness by the more comely 
girls and matrons, and they consummate spiritual marriages with 
carnal copulation ; or where two or three meet at the house of 12 
man who is a little better off, and eat and chat, lead astray the 
women, and in a word do many things you would hardly date 
imagine. By this hunting they find much greater booty than if 
their auditors should hear in the assemblage of the churches 
what is against their doctrines. For who will protect the foolish 
girls and women and countrymen and simpletons from wolves of 
this sort when they never openly appear, nor after the manner of 
the apostles go to the synagogues first and disclose the sources of 
their doctrines in the Scriptures.* But for some months they will 
waste the time with some worthless idler and contaminate the 
whole family not only with error, but with harlotry also, and then 
appear in some spot. And as soon as they are asked to give the 
reason for their doctrine they fly away and leave the featherless 
chick to the hawk. Thus they are at variance with both the 
word and institution of Christ, who both said : " In secret have I 
said nothing," and commanded that what they heard in the ear 
they should preach upon the housetop. Now see these circum- 
cised ! Having gained permission of some house owner they 
ascend the roof, and there caw out that they are now fulfilling 
what Christ said : preach upon the housetop, etc. But when a 
traveler or policeman is seen at a distance they turn tail, as is 
recorded in the fable of the little fox. Now they condemn states 

* The authorities, with Zwingli's assent, first forced these oppressed people 
into holding secret meetings, if they met at all, and now Zwingli taunts them 
for their secrecy ! Alas. 


also, not seeing that Paul preserved himself from violence by this 
one means. Is it not clear now that they have come to the 
point of obscuring all things, of dissolving all friendship and all 
union? Who ever forbade one to be a citizen? These learned 
men have spoken of alliances of unfaithfulness in place of alliances 
of the unfaithful after the Hebrew style. Alliances then are to 
be given up, unless we are not ready to make shipwreck by their 
baptism. Do you see whither they tend? For they add that 
they are sheer abominations which make us hateful to Christ, 
who has freed us from the servitude to the flesh, etc. What is 
this servitude of which they speak ? Of course it is obedience to 
the Christian church, assemblage in all honesty at public meet- 
ings and in private interests of brotherhood for the sake of order 
and quiet, where obligations that are lawfully undertaken and 
cannot be left undischarged without injury and similar observances 
are preserved. Freedom from these and all obligations, I say, 
these pious interpreters in this matter assert in somewhat obscure 
terms at present they have received from Christ, but they will 
preach this openly as soon as they have gained a church upon 
the strength of which they suppose they can rely. So that new 
tragedies are to be looked for by us. I do not greatly condemn 
that carrying of arms which some nations have always done as a 
custom * such as the German and Swiss but I detest murder. 
This, however, does not always come through the sword, but 
sometimes by spear or rock. Therefore you will have mountains 
and forests removed, for out of these weapons are obtained. 
One man dies from the seed of a raisin, another from a goat hair 
in a glass of milk. I myself saw a man among my people of the 
Toggenburg who died from the sting of a single bee. Are then 
grapes, goats and bees to be done away with? But I know 
whither this also points. The power of every magistracy is par- 
ticularly hateful to them, and they are not content with what the 

* In Switzerland it was the custom to carry side arms in the senate, courts, 
popular assembly, and even at baptisms. (Edd. Zwingli's Works.) 


apostle commands : Fear not authority, but do what is right and 
lawful. Not applicable to the magistracy is the saying of Christ : 
Resist not evil, nor that other ; you ought not to rule. This has 
reference to apostles and bishops and each private individual, 
for authority is of God. It belongs to those to fear legitimate 
authority who seek the confusion of all things. Hence they snarl 
out I don't know what foolish statements all the time about laying 
down arms. Not that I either approve or assail this custom of 
carrying arms. But I do condemn the disposition toward 
slaughter beyond all mortals so thoroughly that nothing do I hate 
more.* I, too, teach that arms are to be laid aside, but I teach 
that the sword is to be drawn by which they may be struck who 
have done injury, those be relieved who have suffered, and those 
praised who have done their work well. 

Catabaptists. Fifth. We thus determine about pastors of the 
church of God, that there be some one pastor of a flock according 
to the order of Paul in all things, who shall have good testimony 
from those who are outside the faith. Let it be his duty to read, 
warn, teach, instruct, exhort, correct or communicate in the 
church, and to preside well over all the brethren and sisters, as 
well in prayer as in breaking of bread, and in all things pertaining 
to the body of Christ to watch that it may be supported and 
increased, that the name of God be cherished through us and be 
praised and the mouth shut to blasphemy. But support ought 
to be supplied him from the church which elects him, if he lack. 
For he who serves the gospel should live by the gospel, as the 
Lord ordained. But if a pastor have done aught worthy of 
blame or correction, action should not be taken against him unless 
by the testimony of two or three witnesses. When they sin they 
should be publicly reproved, that the others may fear. But if a 
pastor be either driven out or be led by the cross to the Lord 
another should succeed him at once, so that the people and flock 

* He refers here to his antipathy to the foreign military service of the Swiss, 
which he assailed and condemned. (Edd. Zwingli's Works.) 


of God be not scattered, but receive consolation and be pre- 
served by exhortation. 

Reply. We have seen in a former paragraph how perplexingly 
and confusingly, captiously and obscurely they treated of separa- 
tion from abominations, for their cause had little justice in it. 
Here we see how clear they are when they deal with their church 
(it is wonderful, the effrontery with which they call it a church) 
and their pastors. There they were after this one thing to 
show their treachery legitimate, both because of the morals of 
men and the bishops, and they were torn by conflicting emotions, 
and, as is said, held the wolf by the ears. For if they extrava- 
gantly blamed the morals of the faithful they would incur the 
charge of evil speaking and malevolence, but if they thought 
moderately well of them, those whom they had brought over to 
themselves would not be sufficiently aroused to their secession. 
So since they dared not speak freely, both because of fear and 
caution as well as because of the injustice of their cause and 
malice, they concluded to speak obscurely and suspiciously, so 
that none attacking in open contest might easily catch the oily 
and chameleon-like adversary. For when you were going to say : 
Why do you encourage secession from the churches of the faithful, 
they would be ready to reply that they taught only separation from 
the evil, and that legitimately. When you objected that you do 
not denounce separation from the wicked, but that they seem to 
speak of separation from those whose life is wholly endurable, 
they could reply by heaping up, in dramatic forestalling of objec- 
tions, what they can in no way correctly defend the world, those 
out of the world, good and evil, God and the devil, Christ and 
Belial, etc. By this you could be led to reason thus : It is true 
what they say ; all things known are either divine or worldly, and 
so if you found aught worldly in yourself you would condemn 
yourself, even if you should have commerce with worldly matters* 
and so being aroused would go over to the betrayers, not reflect- 
ing that when you had gone over to them you would at once find 


human misery there, too, just as much as among those who as 
citizens do as the law directs, in assembly, attend marriages 
and public feasts, bear arms and do the other things which those 
men blame as the very worst possible. Nay, you would find 
worse misery, for they are steeped in abominable crimes to use 
their own vocabulary. They render his own to none, they defile 
wives, fail to judge parricide, take away the magistracy, eliminate 
obedience. But I return to the proposition. When in the for- 
mer paragraph, I say, they encouraged defection, they purposely 
said everything in obscure terms, chiefly for the reasons I have 
assigned. But how plain and clear are they when they speak of 
the pastor of their own church ! They concede, then, under this 
rule the support to the pastor of a heretical church which they 
deny to the bishop of the Christian church. Where now are 
those words : " They eat at the table of Jezebel ; they themselves 
devour the homes of widows," though at that time none of us 
had more than seventy gold pieces, and we all said that it is 
much better to live from those goods which were first among the 
churches, or from the tithes or returns that might be collected, 
than, leaving those to I know not whom, weigh down the churches 
by a new begging of support. But thanks be to God the leaders * 
have thoroughly disclosed themselves here. Now they mark out 
support for the bishop of their own church. Where, pray, will 
they get it? Do you not cry out that you are more than suffi- 
ciently burdened, and probably with justice, under the innumer- 
able contributions, taxes, giving and other exactions? But this is 
sweet what they add in the marking out of support : If a pastor 
need aught ! As if all those leaders were not most lost vagrants, 
who either save their soul with their feet when they owe anything 
or are so slothful and idle that they will not provide support by 
their hands. What then do you suppose they lack? A part of 
support? They who are so slothful and lazy that when you have 

* Zwingli calls them Coryphaei, the name given to the leaders of the chorus 
in the Greek drama. 


supplied all support they are hardly able to endure the labor of 
living. The atrabilious men ! It is bile, and not the spirit, for 
which they sell themselves. Do we not know that it is from bile 
and an evil admixture that the crazy commit suicide? And are 
we ignorant of those atrabilious fellows who labor with their own 
impatience, and shall we trust their lies about the spirit? I know 
that all is not borne along of its own will, but is governed and 
disposed by the p r evidence of God, but at the same time I see 
also that by his providence these monsters are led like wild boars 
into our liquid pools to prove us, so that it may appear whether 
we are faithful or not. That they have sewed together in this 
article of theirs a patchwork from many passages of Scripture 
this I do not think needs exposition. 

Catabaptists. Sixth. We determine or decide about the sword 
as follows : The sword is an ordinance of God outside of the per- 
fection of Christ, by which the evil man is punished and slain 
and the good man defended. In the law the sword is ordained 
against the evil for punishment and death, and for this the 
magistracy of the world is constituted. But in the perfection of 
Christ we use only excommunication, for the admonishing and 
exclusion of the sinner, for the destruction of the flesh alone, as 
admonishment and warning that he sin no more. Here we are 
asked by many who do not understand the will of Christ toward 
us : Can a Christian use, or ought he to use, the sword against 
evil for the defense of the good or from love? This reply is 
therefore revealed to us unanimously : Christ teaches us to learn 
from himself. But he is mild and gentle of heart, and we shall 
find rest to our souls. So Christ said to the woman taken in 
adultery, not that she should be stoned according to the law (and 
yet he had said : As my Father hath commanded me, so I speak), 
but he spoke. to her with commiseration and indulgence and 
warning not to sin again, and said : Go and sin no more. We 
must in the same way observe this according to the rule of ex- 


Reply. I will not interpret the whole of this paragraph in its 
prolixity at once, but divide it into parts, and confute it as 
briefly as possible. Therefore when they say that the sword is 
an ordinance of God outside the perfection of Christ, etc., I 
would know to what they refer the perfection of Christ, to the 
head or the body, /. e., do they mean to say : Christ himself is so 
perfect that he needs no sword (i. e., the magistracy,) to chastise 
or punish himself, or do they mean that Christians need no sword 
or magistracy? If the first, I assert that the Lord of lords and 
King of kings is so far from needing magistracy that all magis- 
trates draw their authority down from heaven through him. If 
the second, I strive with all my powers against the proposition 
that Christians need no magistracy. For I grant this, that it is 
easy for them to say that a real Christian needs no magistracy, 
for of faith he omits none of those things that ought to be done 
and does none of the deeds that are not right. But it is our 
misfortune that among men we do not find so absolute perfec- 
tion, and may not hope to find that all who confess Christ are 
wholly happy, as long as we bear about this domicile of the body. 
Therefore the saying : The sword is an ordinance of God outside 
of the perfection of Christ is true in this sense wherever the 
members of Christ do not arrive at the measure of the perfection 
of the head there is need for the sword. But they mean some- 
thing else entirely, /. e., that the heretical church of the re bap- 
tized needs no sword, for it is within the perfection of Christ. 
For the foolish men assume what the monks used to assume, viz., 
that they are in a state of perfection, although they do not use 
those words. For when they separate from the world, crying to 
brethren of the same kidney, " Go ye out from them," do they 
do anything but guard themselves from being defiled by some 
filth from us? Afterwards when they say : But in the perfection 
of Christ we use excommunication only, etc., you see how they 
assert that they have perfection within their church when they 
say : We use. These most seditious men therefore would take 


away the sword so that they may the more freely throw all into 
confusion. There is no need for you to say that there are so 
many impious that there is no danger of taking away the sword 
by their preaching. For they do not go to the impious. But 
when they see those who have embraced the gospel even now 
so great a number that if they should undertake to do what those 
do who defend the pope they might hope to come off superior 
if they could draw these to their faction, all magistracy and obli- 
gation will be abolished. Well known is the cry of that Catabap- 
tist when he returned to Christ : If we had been as superior to 
you as you were to us, you would have seen whether we had 
swords and oath or not. And when they would free us from all 
fear, and promise that all will come out as we desire it, whither, 
pray, do they look, if not to the multitude, for when they have 
gained this they will sail into port? They consequently desire to 
cajole those who have received the gospel to lay aside the 
sword. For among them the authority of the word is valid. If 
you repeat six hundred times the words of Christ to others, the 
tyrants and the impious popes, they are not all disturbed. In 
the perfection of Christ, viz., in their evil church, they would 
have the sword removed, so that they might more freely associate 
with harlots, defile matrons, seduce with their blandiloquence the 
women, confuse all settled conditions, nay, overthrow cities and 
men's dwelling places. For thus a little band of robbers will be 
able to compel the making common the goods of those who are 
unwilling to put them to common use. So that the more the 
sword ought to be preserved even on their own account, since 
they assail with so many stratagems the public peace, the more 
they deny that it can be employed among Christians. When 
therefore they lead us to Christ, who offered himself as an example 
to us of gentleness and humility, they wish to appear to have 
done right ; indeed they would in our judgment also have done 
right if faith were with them. For if it were, they would con- 
tinue to be mild and of humble spirit, even though none followed 


them, but now since there is nothing bitterer or more harsh 
[than they], it becomes evident that gentleness is taught by them 
just as we have heard that temperance was taught once by a 
most eager glutton. For when any edible was brought in of 
which he was particularly fond, he used to warn his table-com- 
panions not to swallow it hurriedly and hastily, but quietly to 
dwell upon it and to masticate it for a long time, and so increase 
the pleasure by lengthening it, in order that he might gorge him- 
self the more abundantly. So since there is nothing harsher 
than these (for what age has ever seen such evil speaking?) 
they refer others to Christ to learn gentleness, while they them- 
selves go as far from his example as possible. Then they adduce 
the example of Christ when he dealt with the woman adulterer, 
i. e., he did not hand her over to be stoned, but regarded her 
with compassion, and said : Go and sin no more. Indeed they 
write all this charmingly, so that you may the more easily under- 
stand that those spirits are even now propitious to adulterers. 
But look here, you slothful and over-sensitive fellows, have you 
not read that Christ gave all sorts of precedents in accordance 
with the diversity of occasions? How often do you read the 
most cruel things? Here then learn to recognize a divine and 
punishing justice. How often, on the contrary, do you read the 
most gentle? There recognize pity. Then in a word learn this, 
that he whose first coming had nothing harsh in it, with that 
same one there is also the most complete justice, but since in 
that first coming his purpose was not to judge or condemn, but 
to save, he preserved the limits of his mission. Unless you show 
me that somewhere during that advent he assumed the authority 
of a judge, you will never move me by that example [to believe] 
that the magistracy is not lawful for a Christian. This you 
cannot do, for he fled when once they wished to make him king. 
But now that that mission has been completed, and he has sat 
down at the right hand of God, see whether or not he has de- 
stroyed cruel murderers and given his vineyard to other workers. 


It is no strange thing that so many sects are born daily; it is 
wonderful that more are not produced, especially when we have 
so wise interpreters of Scripture that they do not yet discrimi- 
nate between Christ's omnipotence, providence and divinity, by 
which he ever governs all, and his mission which he performed 
here. For when they behold that which he did in accordance 
with his miarion here immediately they found upon those laws. 
Here he did not take upon himself the functions of a judge, for 
he did not come for that. Let no one therefore be judge. By 
no means. For that is to confound divine and human law. 

Catabaptists. Secondly, the question is asked about the sword, 
whether a Christian may pronounce or give judgment in secular 
matters, between force" and force, strife and strife, in which the 
unfaithful differ. To which we reply : Christ would not decide 
between brethren who quarreled about a bequest, but drove them 
away. Consequently we must do likewise. 

Reply. I think it is clear enough why Christ put away this 
case ; he had not come to prepare a kingdom for himself in this 
world, but that he who was Lord of all might subject himself to 
all. And I assert that the words of the Saviour prove this. For 
who, said he, made me a judge and a divider over you? Behold 
how he rejected the office of a judge ! For although Christ was 
lord of all, yet in the dispensation of his humanity he never pro- 
claimed himself king. When then he denies that he is a judge, 
he denies that this case concerns him ; but meanwhile, when the 
occasion offers, does he not discuss the rendering to each of his 
own ? something that he almost never omits. If ever a reason 
is given for discussing necessary matters, he always passes from 
the gross to the spiritual. But here in passing by this he openly 
teaches that there was some judge to whom they could refer the 
case, but Christ was not he, so he made no decision. Therefore 
we see the office of judge rather confirmed than done away, even 
among the devout. So Paul's admonition to bear injury rather 
than litigate with a brother does not involve that a Christian may 


not be a judge ; it urges us not to be litigious. So also Christ 
warned against lawsuits because of the danger, since it often 
occurred in fact that he who hoped to return from the court a 
winner was thrown into prison till he could pay the whole debt. 
But this is excessively Christian when they say : In the lawsuits 
which the unbelieving engage in meaning by the unbelieving all 
who are not of their heretical church. For they assert that a 
Christian may not exercise the office of judge in external matters 
yet this is a divine matter if rightly performed. While they 
arrogate to themselves the judgment of the inner man (for they 
call all unbelieving who of a whole heart cherish the true God 
and the one Jesus Christ, provided these do not follow their 
erring flock). And they do this openly. For often two oi 
them pass by good and devout men and one of them, the other 
being left to go on, stops to chat with our people ; then the one 
who has gone on, turning about, cries out to the other : Brother, 
what are you doing among the unbelievers? Go away from 
them ! Gentle men, indeed, who occasion some damage as often: 
as opportunity permits ! Which class seems to you, reader, to be 
the gentler and more humble they who think nothing but vio- 
lence and injury or those who overcome all audacity by sweetness? 
Catabaptists. Third, about the sword it is asked whether a 
Christian ought to hold office when it is appointed to him. We 
reply that Christ was about to be made king, yet he fled and 
did not look back, according to the ordinance of his Father. 
So ought we to do, /'. e., follow him, and we shall not walk in the 
darkness. For he said also : He that would follow me must 
deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. He even 
interdicted the power of the sword, and thus denounced it : The 
kings of the Gentiles rule, but ye are not sueh. So Paul says : 
Whom God foreknew he also predestinated to be conformed to 
the image of his Son. Peter also said that he had suffered, not 
ruled, and left us an example that we might follow in his foot- 



Reply. That Christ would have been king if he had not fled 
has been discussed above. For he came not to be tended and 
ministered to as tyrants are, but to minister; not to give the 
whole world for the redemption of his own skin, as you Cata- 
baptists do, betraying all your brethren when peril threatens, but 
to give his life for all mankind. He came for this, I say. Yet 
he never forbade a Christian and one worthy of empire to become 
a king even. " Who would follow me must deny himself and 
take up his cross and follow me " this was not said by him to 
indicate that no one could take office because he did not. 
For many kings have despised themselves and followed him, 
though retaining their royal authority until the end. If Saul had 
done this he would not have rendered the mountains of Gilboa 
illustrious by his calamity. " The kings of the Gentiles exercise 
authority over them, but ye are not so," was not said to interdict 
from the magistracy. We ought to consider the occasion by 
which he was led to express this sentiment. The apostles had 
been contending about the leadership. Let us then recognize 
that it was said to them. For as he had come not to rule, but 
to redeem, so also he sent the disciples : As the Father, he said, 
hath sent me, so I also send you, /. e., to preach, not to rule. 
So since the apostles acted in Christ's place, they ought to restrain 
their desires to rule after the pattern of their archetype Christ. 
He commanded them therefore not to rule ; nay, to each private 
individual he implied that he should not put himself forward. I 
will prove this by the testimony of the apostles themselves. 
Peter ordered slaves to obey their masters, not only good and 
humane ones, but even the perverted. Behold how he opposes 
the perverse to good and humane ! He means by the good 
those who were faithful; by the perverse, not the harsh and 
unkind, but those not in the faith. Therefore there were faithful 
masters. Peter also baptized Cornelius the centurion. The high 
functionary of the Ethiopian Candace was baptized by Philip. 
But if, according to your opinion, a Christian may not exercise 


the magistracy, and penitence and confession of faith are required 
before being baptized, then Peter and Philip did wrong in bap- 
tizing these before they had resigned office, or a Gentile who has 
been placed in office may also be baptized and received into the 
church. But in Paul we find mention of a Christian Quaestor and 
faithful master. For in writing to the Ephesians he says : Slaves 
who have faithful masters. And to the powerful of the Colossians 
he writes that they should act justly to the slaves whom they possess. 
I pass by Sergius Paulus. Now neither Peter nor Paul in writing 
to magistrates and masters discourage them from mastership. 
But when they write to the bishops, how often, pray, do they 
advise not to compass lordship in their duty, i. e., in the inherit- 
ance of the Lord, not to circumvent the brethren or throw a 
snare or be violent or the like ! Clear, therefore, is the word of 
Christ : Ye are not such. Even the apostles understood it only 
as directed to themselves. What these cite from Paul respecting 
conformity to the image of Christ applies equally to kings and 
beggars ; nay, they are more conformed to the image of the Son 
of God who in the height of power place themselves among the 
lowest, as did the Son of God, than we who creep upon the 
ground. Peter, they say, asserted that he had suffered, not ruled. 
He did that for which he was sent, as has been said often enough. 
Catabaptists, Finally we learn that a Christian may not be a 
magistrate from what follows. The magistracy is a carnal office, 
a Christian is spiritual. Magistrates' home and dwelling are cor- 
poreal in this world, all Christians' are in heaven. The first are 
citizens of this world, Christians of heaven. The arms of the 
former are carnal and against the flesh ; of the latter, spiritual 
and against the machinations of the devil. Earthly magistrates 
employ brass and iron, but Christians put on the armor of God 
truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the word of God. 
In short, just as our head is disposed toward us, so ought all the 
members of the body in their entirety to be disposed through 
him, that there be no strife in the body to destroy it. For every 


kingdom divided against itself perishes. Since therefore Christ 
is as he is described, the members must necessarily be such that 
the body may remain sound and whole, to its own preservation 
and upbuilding. 

Reply. You stupid seducers, for what more appropriate words 
can I apply to them? The magistrates' office is carnal, say they. 
They might say at least that their power is directed toward the 
carnal and external. For are those things carnal that are men- 
tioned in Ex. xviii. 2 1 : Provide out of all the people able men, 
such as fear God, men of truth, who hate covetousness. There- 
fore a judge ought above all men to be rightly affected to all and 
unwavering, giving no decision in partiality or hatred or fear or 
violence. But who can better do this than a most devout per- 
son? But because he has to do with those who do whatever 
they please, according to the impulse of the flesh, does not make 
him less spiritual than those who think themselves so mightily so. 
It actually occurs that a father has to judge his son, as occurred 
to Saul, Brutus, Manlius and others. In such cases what are we 
to think a judge has most need of? Firmness, surely. But the 
flesh does not supply that, but either desire for glory or conten- 
tion, and then it is not firmness, but persistency such as that 
livid kind of yours or from love of righteousness, which can 
be from God alone. A judge of this sort is more spiritual than 
those gentle little fellows who preach to us a kind of womanish 
gentleness, especially since there is so much evil among mortals. 
A judge of this sort is of more advantage to the glory of God and 
the advancement of the public peace than the whole Catabaptist 
heresy, though it should include its thousands of thousands. 
Consequently a judge or magistrate ought particularly to be a 
Christian and a spiritually-minded man. So God himself deigned 
to call them by his own name Elohim, because they should be most 
like God as high priests of righteousness, equity and firmness. 
"Their home" (/. e., judges') "and habitation are corporeal and 
in this world; Christians' are in heaven." As if those words 


sounded to us of heaven ! Where are you, pray, when you say 
these things? In the world, I think ! So you, too, are in this 
world. If then a Christian may not be a magistrate because his 
habitation is in this world, then you are not Christians, for you 
are in the world. But how is a Christian's habitation in heaven? 
In that he lives there in contemplation and moves thither in 
possession and in fruition, no doubt.* Therefore a judge, since 
he is ever engaged in contemplation of God, since he is every 
moment considering the safety of the people under him and the 
rendering of exact justice to each, is he not in heaven, so far as 
contemplation is concerned, rather than all the Catabaptists, who, 
if they honored God, would not engage in counsels so foolish and 
audacious. Finally, a judge who fears God will ascend after this 
life unto him whose name and office he bears here, when those 
seducers will all be sunk in the depth of their own evil baptism. 
Here meanwhile, magistrates and judges, be ye mindful of your 
duties, for not otherwise is horror of you conceived than because 
those who render right to every one are so rare among you, 
especially in this time when all abounds in violence and cruelty. 
But I have not time to pursue this here. After this manner I 
reply to their grandiloquent words the citizenship of these is in 
this world, of Christians, in heaven. For the Catabaptists thus 
far have no citizenship here, no church in which they may live 
and watch, as a bishop and pastor should, but they are like wolves 
that lie in wait in the forests, that seize the prey and flee, that 
burn and then escape. The arms of these are carnal and against 
the flesh, they say, but Christians' are spiritual and against the 
forts of the devil. They do not need me as a teacher here, for 
we see clearly enough that their wars are not against the flesh, 
for in all they yield to it. So earthly magistrates, they say, are 
armed with brass and iron ; Catabaptists with hypocrisy and evil 
speaking, lies, injury, discord, faithlessness, disaster and the word 
of the devil to give them altogether the gifts that are theirs in 
* /. e., transfers his real possessions and interests thither. 


place of what they claim for themselves. " We ought in all to 
imitate Christ" who denies it? But what prevents a pious 
judge from being, through the goodness and grace of God, as 
like Christ as is a Catabaptist? Rather, as I have said, he is 
the more able as he is the more like him, since when he was 
placed aloft he thought of humble things. But the Catabaptist 
ever assumes the highest in his own impudence. And the king- 
dom of Christ is not divided when a Christian exercises the 
magistracy ; it is built up and united. This is clear from one 
example of Scripture, many times repeated, where cohorts of 
slaves are said to have embraced the faith of their masters. And 
it has been repeated by many cities in these times of ours, for 
as soon as the gospel began to be preached they gave opportunity 
to hear it to the people entrusted to them by the Lord, just as 
when faithful Jehosaphat ordered the law to be expounded by the 
priests and Levites, supported by several cohorts, throughout all 
his dominions. They opened a door by public command to the 
gospel and its ministers. And they have shut the door upon the 
wolves and false apostles, whether they have proceeded from the 
court of the pope or from the dens and caves of the Catabaptists. 
By this deed, glory to God, great growth of the gospel has at 
once been seen. But, as I have said, among the Christians they 
keep agitating these perverse teachings about not exercising the 
magistracy or taking the oath, so that if possible they may sow 
their errors without punishment or fear. 

Catabaptists. Seventh. We thus decide and determine con- 
cerning the oath : i. An oath is a confirmation among those who 
litigate or make promises. And the law directs, 2, that it be 
done by the name of God alone truly, and not falsely. But 
Christ, who teaches the perfection of the law, forbids all oaths, 
whether true or false, whether by heaven or earth or Jerusalem 
or oneself. And this for the reason which he adds, saying, 3 : 
For ye cannot make one hair white or black. So notice ! All 
swearing is prohibited because we are unable to perform any of 


those things we promise with an oath, for the very least of our 
possessions we cannot change. But some do not believe the 
simple precepts of God, saying, 4 : Since God swore to Abraham 
by himself who was God, at the time when he promised to be 
kind to him and to be his God, if only he kept his precepts, why 
may I not also swear when I make a promise to any one? We 
reply : Hear what Scripture says when God wished to offer a 
promise to his heirs, with surety that his counsel would not 
change, he interposed an oath, that we might hope Listen to 
the import of this Scripture : God has the power of taking an 
oath, which he prohibits to you, for to him all things are possible. 
God gave an oath to Abraham, says Scripture, to show that his 
counsel would not change, that is, since no one could resist his 
power, so it was necessary that he should preserve his oath. But 
we cannot, as was shown above by the word of Christ, keep an 
oath or do what we have sworn to do, so we ought not to swear. 
Again some say that it is in the Old Testament, not in the New, 
that we are forbidden to swear by God ; in the New it is for- 
bidden to swear by heaven or earth or Jerusalem. To which we 
reply : Hear the Scripture, 5 : Who sweareth by the temple or 
heaven sweareth by the throne of God and by him who sitteth 
therein. You see how to swear by heaven is forbidden, for it is 
the throne of God; how much more serious to swear by God 
himself ! O blind and foolish, which is the greater, the throne 
or he that sitteth thereon? Some even dare say : If it is wrong 
to swear even when the Lord's name is used to support the truth, 
then Peter and Paul sinned, for they swore. To this we reply, 6 : 
Peter and Paul only testify to this, that by God himself a promise 
was made to Abraham by an oath, but they themselves make no 
promises, as the examples clearly reveal. For testifying and 
swearing are entirely distinct. When an oath is taken something 
is promised for the future. 7. To Abraham when an old man 
Christ was promised, whom we received after a long interval. 
But when one testifies he testifies to something present, whether 


it is true and good or not. Just as Simeon said to Mary about 
Christ and testified : Lo, this one is set for the fall and rising 
again of many in Israel, and for a sign to be spoken against. 
After this manner Christ taught us when he said : Let your speech 
be yea, yea, and nay, nay, for whatsoever is added to this is of 
evil. Christ warns us thus : Your speech ought to be yea, yea, 
that we may not understand him as permitting an oath. Christ 
is simply yea and nay. And all who seek him simply shall find 
him the Amen. 

Reply. So far you have discussed what you decided about the 
oath. I will then reply to each error in order by its number, 
to avoid eternal repetition of your remarks, i. Who, pray, has 
given you this definition of an oath? You have indeed touched 
on the practice but the essential nature of an oath you either do 
not know or maliciously pass by. You tell only what an oath 
we use, but what it is or how taken you say nothing of. If you 
should tell this frankly, an oath would cause no great dread in 
men, but this would not suit your designs, for you wish to destroy 
the magistracy and the power of which it consists. Take away 
the oath and you have dissolved all order. The burgomaster 
summons a senator who does not obey. You say : Let him have 
the policeman arrest him. How will he obey? The burgomaster 
sees a Catabaptist inciting the people to rebellion, and, wishing 
to see that no evil befalls the state, he orders him not to teach 
in secret (for they who are on the side of the gospel in sincerity 
easily overcome him when he teaches openly). Or he forbids 
him to teach publicly or privately, and orders the Catabaptist to 
be arrested when he despises every order. But the policeman 
does not obey. Who will arrest [the Catabaptist] the burgo- 
master? But the other is stronger. You see, good reader, all 
order is overthrown when the oath is done away. Still, if the 
Scriptures required this, I would not oppose, for he by whose pro- 
vidence all is governed will never fail the house of Israel. But 
he wills not this confusion. Give up the oath in any state then 


according to the Catabaptists' desire, and at once the magistracy 
is removed and all things follow as they would have them. Good 
gods ! What a confusion and upturning of everything ! For no 
one is so destitute of all wisdom in an emergency as this class of 
men. They would have everything rectified by their shouts, 
just like that physician, or rather quack, who runs to his single 
cureall for every sickness. But, to come to the point, an oath is 
an appeal to God in deciding or vouching for something. This 
is not our definition, but his through whom we swear. Ex. xxii. 
10 thus commands : If a man deliver unto his neighbor an ass or 
an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep, and it die or be hurt or 
driven away by robbers, no one seeing it, then shall an oath of 
the Lord be between them both, that he with whom it was left 
hath not put his hand to his neighbor's goods, and the owner of 
the beast shall accept the oath, and he with whom it was left 
shall not restore aught. Here you see an oath is an appeal to 
God, for it says : An oath of the Lord (or of God), for the word 
is mil** [Yahweh.] But this appeal i s nothing but a vowing of 
himself to the extreme punishment of the divine wrath if he is 
wrong. For since he calls as witness him, of whom alone he 
confesses himself to be a worshiper, and [of him] who can by no 
means be deceived, though man may, he bears witness under 
penalty of losing him whom alone he worships and who alone 
knows the hearts of men, that he is not deceiving and will not 
deceive. This authority of Exodus deals with the deciding 
[judicial] character of the oath. In Gen. xxi. 23 we have the 
words of Abimelech to Abraham, as follows : Therefore swear 
unto me by God that thou wilt not harm me nor my posterity, 
etc. And afterward Abraham says : I will swear ; and again : 
There they both sware. Here again we have an attestation by 
God to do something. For Abraham swore to do no harm, 
which oath he kept. This, I say, is an oath when you define it. 
The Catabaptists call it a " decision," and omit the appeal to 
God, that the simple may not reason thus among themselves. 


How is it that God is not to be invoked when the safety of a 
neighbor is in danger? An oath is therefore a divine thing, a 
sacred anchor to which we flee when human wisdom can go no 
farther. For who knows what is in man except God alone ? He 
therefore betrays him who swears falsely by him. For a man 
is believed for the faith and religious trust which he has in God 
to have spoken [truly] and to be ready to fulfill. And it is through 
him that he deceives. For the benefit, then, of one's neighbor 
an oath is commanded by God. And since the whole law and 
the prophets hang upon these two commands : Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy 
mind, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, then the oath 
itielf is an appeal to God, whom you uniquely love and serve, 
and is for the advantage of the neighbor. Who then will dare 
against all the authority of Scripture to deprive the people of God 
of the oath? God cannot be offended by an oath, for he is 
called as a witness, so that if we are not believed yet we may be 
believed, since we will on no account betray him. For all will 
be praised who shall swear by him. And the neighbor also will 
not be hurt, for the oath is given for his advantage, that he may 
either know that to be true which he did not know, or may be 
sure that what he deprecates will not be done by his neighbor or 
what he asks will be granted. So far from a devout man not 
being able to take an oath, he will be impious who refuses when 
a matter worthy this attestation demands. 

But the whole source of the error arises from their not seeing 
the opinion of Christ in Matt. v. 33 ; indeed they do not know 
the very words. For the German word " schworen," to which they 
suppose the Greek emopKsiv, the Latin " jurare " is similar, has 
another signification than what they suppose. For when we say 
in German " Der schwort," /'. *., he swears, it is uncertain whether 
a formal oath is referred to or whether one is just swearing off- 
hand. The signification of this word is twofold. The Latin " jurare" 
is always used in a good sense, /. t., for asking a sacred obligation. 


But "dejerare" is used for swearing, either truly or falsely, outside of 
sacred obligations, which we might translate into German by a new 
word, " zuschworen," equivalent to the Greek word iniopKrtv. So the 
Latin has three words, " jurare," " dejerare " and " perjerare ;" the 
first means a sacred obligation, the second to swear off-hand to 
anything either falsely or truly, the third to swear falsely. Christ 
would not forbid us to swear [" jurare "] , but to swear lightly or off- 
hand [" dejerare "]. But as these men do not, or will not, see this 
(I have often set it forth to them), they willingly and wittingly 
stumble. But to show this is the sense of Christ's words I will 
examine the words themselves, as follows : Ye have heard that 
it was said by them of old, Thou shalt not kmopKeiv, i. <?., 
" dejerare," or swear lightly. Our translation has it, " Thou shalt 
not commit perjury," which is not wholly bad. For the word 
" perjerare," though never used in a good sense, does not always 
indicate the violation or transgression or pretended fulfilment of 
an oath, but sometimes it means "dejerare," when "dejerare" 
is used in a bad sense. For " dejerare " is sometimes used in a 
good sense, as I have sometimes observed. While therefore the 
words of Christ are : It was said by them of old, Thou shalt not 
commit perjury, you will nowhere find among the Hebrews this 
interdict of perjury, nor among the Greeks. But you will find 
in Ex. xx. 7 : Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy 
God " temere," which our translator translates " in vain." You 
will find, Lev. xix. 12 : Ye shall not swear by my name falsely, 
where the Greek interprets : OVK bfieic&E T$ ovdpari fiov EK' dJ//c^, /. ., 
Ye shalt not swear by my name to that which is wicked or false. 
The Latin translates : Non perjurabis in nomine meo. You see 
how elegantly the divine Jerome has used here the word per- 
jurare for falsely " dejerare," not for violating an oath. It was 
therefore forbidden by them of old (2) to take the name of God 
rashly, /. <r., as it is expounded in the passage from Leviticus 
not to swear to a falsehood. So in them this opinion rose out of 
this understanding if the name of God were taken to that which 


was true no harm was done even though this was in ordinary and 
daily discourse, but that it was not permitted to apply it either 
as " adjurare " or " dejerare " to a light, vain, false, fictitious or 
lying matter. This opinion it was that Christ combatted, think- 
ing that they ought not " dejerare " either to the true or false in 
ordinary discourse ; everything was to be said and done so truly 
that if one said vai, that is, Yea, the neighbor should know that 
what the other had said was true, or if he said Nay, the neighbor 
should know that for truth. About the official oath nothing is 
said here. For the passage runs : Ye have heard that it was said 
by them of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself. Where is this 
said? Why, where the discussion is not about perjury, but of 
" dejerare." There it was permitted to take the name of God 
in asseveration of the truth. There follows : Thou shalt pay thy 
vows. Whither does this point? If the discussion is of official 
oath, where then does the former passage, Thou shalt not for- 
swear thyself, hold in this sense : Thou shalt not fail thy oath ? 
It is clear therefore that he speaks about those oaths in which 
people undertook off-hand to do something, just as if he had 
said : All that thou hast sworn to do must be done correctly and 
lawfully, in order that by this he might deter from rash vows 
and swearing, on the ground that there was danger that the Lord 
would require it if you undertook anything lightly. Then he 
follows with : But I say to you, swear not at all. But of what 
swearing does he speak? Why, of that which was lawful for the 
ancients when he wished to call upon the name of God for some 
matter true and important. For we ought not in a matter true 
and important adjure, dejure or promise anything of our own 
private authority. Here no mention occurs of the oath required 
by public authority. What follows establishes this. He says : 
Neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by earth, for it is 
his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king, 
nor by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or 
black. These examples show that Christ did not refer to the 


oath [required by magistrates]. For which of the Hebrews ever 
took [such] an oath by heaven, earth, Jerusalem or his head? On 
the other hand, who does not swear off-hand by these? One man 
promises something by the cross of Christ, another asseverates by 
heaven and earth. This then is what Christ forbade. To this 
he directs the wind-up of his whole discourse. Let your speech 
be such that yea means yea, and nay, nay. There you have it. 
He does not speak about our oath ; he does not touch upon the 
forum or court or magistracy, but upon daily conversation in our 
familiar intercourse. 

Perhaps I seem to some to argue for this opinion tamely. But 
if they weigh as often as I have done the passages from Exodus 
xx. and Leviticus xix, in the Hebrew, the Greek and the Latin, 
I know they will think as I do. You see now whether enough 
can be said against the Catabaptists, since they have not con- 
sidered the double sense of the word, but have made a misunder- 
standing the basis of their error. 

(3) Nor is this a good reason for refusing to make oath, that 
we cannot change a hair, for if it were legitimate we might not 
reply with even a yea to our neighbor. I have answered yea to 
many who asked me whether I were going to lead an army 
against the Catabaptists, yet at no moment was I secure from 
him who knocks equally at all doors. Still I was right. Yet I 
was uncertain that I should live, much more write, but no one 
will accuse me of falsehood. A brother promises another to be 
on hand to-morrow. But because, taken down with fever, he 
does not come, he is not accused of falsehood, nor does any 
one blame him, for God gives him the excuse of necessity. So 
also when he is summoned to an enquiry by the magistrate under 
oath, his reply is not such that the power of almighty God cannot 
rightly exempt him. For when Abraham swore to Abimelech 
himself, did he not swear to do something? Why then did he 
do it? Especially when the Catabaptists declare that he could 
not do anything, and assert that Christ meant that? Under the 


law, they say, it was permitted to make oath. But Abraham 
made this reply on oath 430 years before, and he was not under 
the law, but under faith. For the apostle makes him our father 
by faith. It is clear then that Christ spoke against that insanity 
under which many swear of their own motion so frivolously and 
promise something as of their own authority, or swear not to do 
what they could not avoid. They also call to witness for any 
sort of thing, not only the names of heaven and earth, but also 
of the living God, thus bringing contumely upon God to their 
own evil. 

(4) When they seek to weaken that example of God swearing 
to Abraham himself, do they not weaken themselves? How 
often have they said in the foregoing that we are to do what we 
see that Christ did? But they add, this is possible to God to 
do what he promised but not to us. Must not the same be said 
of Christ? So I say: Christ could love his enemies, I cannot. 
So I must not. You see, good reader, that although they try and 
move many things, yet in all it is shown that they have laid the 
foundations of their error in some marked arrogance or malice 
or at least ignorance, as in this case. For in their persuasive 
discourse from the words : " For thou art not able to change one 
hair," they infer that by this Christ would take away the solemn 
obligation known as an oath. 

(5) They reason from the less to the greater : If one may not 
swear by the throne, how much less by God himself who sitteth 
upon it? Not inaptly do they infer, if they speak of perjury or 
of swearing lightly. For if God forbids swearing lightly by his 
throne because it is his, how much less should we swear lightly 
by him? But if they speak of the obligation [of the oath], they 
infer wrongly that if we may not assume an obligation by his 
throne we may not by himself. An oath is not legitimately 
taken and as it ought to be, " any created thing," but " by God " 
himself. An oath is a religious matter; he who makes oath 
binds himself to the sum of religion ; in religion the chief thing 


is adoration. Just as it would be illegitimate to infer: The 
throne is not to be adored, therefore God is not. So it is no less 
illegitimate : By the throne oath is not to be taken, therefore 
not by him who sits upon it. 

(6) When they speak of the testimonies of Peter and Paul, 
they do not know of what they chatter. They have not yet 
learned that the word " testify " is in most elegant use among the 
Hebrews for proclaiming a thing boldly and constantly. That 
one may give testimony is clear from i Tim. v. 19 : Against an 
elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses. 
I ask first whether the apostle speaks here of Christian witnesses 
or the unbelieving? If of the unbelieving, then every moment 
bishop and church are in danger. For the more holy and inno- 
cent one is, the more do the perfidious assail him ; and Paul 
seems to have ill advised for the church and the bishop when he 
has given the unbelieving the opportunity to testify. But if he 
speaks of witnesses within the church, it results that a Christian 
may give testimony. My second question then is were they 
who gave testimony sworn or not? If unsworn, again the bishop 
is in peril, for there are many false brethren, many who the more 
vigilantly the bishop watches, the more hostilely aim at his depo- 
sition. In short, it is the fact in human affairs that there are 
few whom you can believe unsworn ; indeed they say that among 
the Romans in reality Cato was the only one whom they could 
believe without an oath. In fact it is not very likely that within 
the church witnesses were ever received without oath, for under 
the spirit and prudence that was powerful with them they easily 
saw that if men unsworn were accustomed to speak against the 
bishop, daily empty accusations and movements would be aroused 
against the bishop. If you had weighed this testimony a little 
more carefully, ye immersers not only of bodies, but of souls, you 
would not teach that an oath may not be taken. But what good 
do I hope from you ? For whatever you assert you affirm willingly 
and wittingly against the Scripture. 


(7) When an oath is taken, they say, something future is 
promised. But what is promised for the future when he with 
whom his neighbor's ass has been left swears that he has not put 
his hand to his neighbor's goods? See how learned and pru- 
dently you dispose your trifles. At first an oath was a decision 
only between litigants ; now it is only a promise. What is this 
but babbling forth whatever comes into your head? When any 
one testifies, they say, he testifies regarding the present, whether 
it is true and good, just as Simeon testified : Lo, this one is 
placed for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, etc. What 
if the apostles testified regarding a past event the crucified 
Christ throughout the world ? And ye shall be my witnesses, 
not only in Judea and Samaria, but to the ends of the earth. 
The apostles testified therefore to a past event. Also Simeon 
testified to the future when he said that Christ was to be a sign 
to be spoken against. I myself now testify to you of the future, 
and faithful is the word, /. e., it is sure. I testify to you, whether 
you accept the monitor or not, that the time will come when 
they who are now led astray by you will recover their sight and 
will be aroused against you like shepherds against a wolf or a 
mad dog. Do not I also now testify? Why do you not insert 
in those laws of yours something of your sweet attestation? 
That you may not be ignorant of this, reader, listen to this : At 
Appenzell they use the following tricks : Some Catabaptist throws 
himself down just as though he were an epileptic ; as long as he 
can he holds his breath and pretends to be in ecstasy. Those 
who have seen it say he presents a horrible appearance. Finally, 
like one waking up, he begins to testify about what he has heard 
and seen while in ecstasy. They have all seen especially that 
Zwingli is in error about catabaptism, and this opinion one pro- 
nounces gently and another violently. They saw that the day of 
judgment was at hand two years ago, and that catabaptism was 
a righteous and holy thing, and all that kind of foolishness. You 
must not suppose that these tricks are concocted by their com- 


mon people ; the leaders are the authors, as you may know from 
the following example : At S. Gall there was a Catabaptist girl of 
about 12 years or a little more. She was the daughter of a right 
thinking man, as they say. He was preparing one day to carry 
some provisions (he is a provider of grain) when his daughter 
warned him to remain at home, for he would see something 
wonderful. A ; little after she fell down in the way I described 
above. And when she was waking up she babbled out those 
empty ravings of theirs. You see how she knew when she was 
going to fall. Why did she not fall down at once when she saw 
her father leaving? Why, she had not been taught all she should 
say when coming to consciousness, nor been told of all that 
there was need of in accomplishing the 'affair. Every now and 
then they use these tricks still at Abtzell. And they call it an 
attestation, though it applies to things past and future, so that 
those vain seducers of old women cannot say that when any one 
testifies, it is of the present. Oh, how sweetly and gently do 
they arrange everything. Ye gods and goddesses above, below 
and in between, be propitious to them ! 

(8) They rightly tell us that Christ taught that our speech? 
should be ever yea or nay, yet they do not seem clearly to under- 
stand it, or if they understand they do not act upon it. For' 
though in many places they have said yea, it has never beer* 
yea. When those leaders are banished against whom I write 
especially, and are asked for an oath, they will not take oath, but 
say that through the faith which they have in God they know 
they will never return, and yet having been seen returned, they say 
the Father led me back through his will. I know very well that 
it is the father of lies that brings them back ; they pretend to 
know it is the heavenly Father. This is worth telling: When 
that George (whom they all call a second Paul) of the house of 
Jacob [Blaurock] was cudgeled with rods among us even to the 
infernal gate, and was asked by the senate's officer to take oath 
and lift his hands [in affirmation], at first he refused, as he had 


often done before and had persisted in doing. Indeed, he had 
always acted as if he would rather die than take an oath. The 
official of the senate then ordered him to lift his hands and make 
oath at once when put to the question, "or do you, policeman," 
said he, " lead him back to prison." But now, persuaded by rods, 
this George of the house of Jacob raised his hands to heaven 
and followed the magistrate in the reading of the oath. So here 
you have the question confronting you, Catabaptists, whether 
that Paul of yours did or did not transgress the law. The law 
forbids to swear ; he swore, so he transgressed the law. Hence 
this knot : You would be separated from the world, from lies, 
from those who walk not according to the resurrection of Christ 
but in dead works. How then is it that you have not excom- 
municated that apostate ? Your yea is not yea with you, nor your 
nay, nay, but the contrary. Your yea is nay, and your nay, yea. 
You follow neither Christ nor your ordinances. 

(9) Be these things said about oaths which they would abrogate 
from human affairs only for the sake of sedition and tumult? For 
in promising to the untaught the liberty of the flesh, which 
neither Christ nor the apostles preached, they use these arts of 
rebaptizing, separating and refusing an oath. Meanwhile they 
do not consider what Paul says, Heb. vi. 16 : An oath is con- 
firmation and the end of all strife. In saying this it is clear that 
the divine apostle said not of those who are not within the 
church, " an oath among them confirms or decides everything," 
but of those who are not without the church. Among these 
therefore he declares that all is confirmed or decided by an oath. 
Nor do they consider, as I have warned them, what was said 
above about witnesses testifying about a bishop, nor this, that 
neither Christ nor the apostles ever taught that the statement 
that every word stands or falls by the utterance of two or three 
witnesses had been made void, as is easily seen by Matt, xviji. 16 
and Heb. x. 28. From these they might have learned that an 
oath was never abolished, although they had no word but : 


Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is his. So 
they are told to render to Caesar what is his. But they owe the 
oath. Theiefore Christ orders it to be given. 

But before we leave this a warning ought to be given the 
tyrants of this world, who though they falsely boast in the name 
of Christ yet do all to beat down his gospel, that they must not 
suppose that by this defense of the oath, which I have furnished, 
an opportunity is given for finding a defense of their own cruelty, 
because nothing has been said thus far of the atrocity of abusing 
an oath. To give in brief the sum of my opinion, I myself do 
not think an oath ought to be demanded, or can be demanded, 
without disturbing conscience, except when either all human 
attestation fails or the safety of a neighor is gravely imperilled, 
and then only in case that in no oath that we take is the name 
of God blasphemed. This opinion of mine you will easily extract 
from what has been said. I think that those trifles of the Cata- 
baptists have been quite thoroughly refuted. Now I go to other 


In this part I undertake to treat of two things the covenant 
or testament, and election, that it may stand firm. Here I shall 
show with sure testimony and argument that it was the custom of 
the apostles to baptize the infants of believers. On the covenant 
then I speak after the following fashion : Although the Architect 
of the universe created this great world that it might have man 
as a cultivator, yet before any colony was sent out to any part, 
nay, before the future colonists were born, the one hope of the 
whole race, the father of the human race, rebelled against his 
Maker. But God was too merciful to visit the betrayer according 
to the magnitude of his fault, and at the same time too just to 
pass so daring a deed unpunished. So whom he might have 
utterly destroyed he made wretched and full of misfortune. 
When he drove him from Paradise he did not forbid him to 
become a father, but simply that he should not be the father of 


so noble a race as would have been if he had not betrayed his 
trust. So then it came about, that such as the offspring was, it 
was disseminated, as the cultivator, in all the corners of the earth. 
But, however, it grew and multiplied, and became divided into 
the various races of men, yet divine Providence in a peculiar way 
designated one to be among all peoples as especially sacred, as 
if it were a venerable priesthood among all. Divine Providence 
selected this race for this purpose, that when it would clear the 
world's sin by the death of his Son, this Son should take a body 
in which he could die from this nation. And this nation he 
followed in all times with his great blessings, nay, he so cherished 
and preserved it in every crisis that by observation of this alone 
one might learn that God was about to accomplish through it 
something exceedingly wonderful. So that whenever it was 
reduced to fewness in numbers it suddenly sprang up anew; 
however it was afflicted, it was ever restored. Adam believed 
that the son born to him was he of whom God had said not long 
before that he should bruise the head of the devil ; so also his 
mother said : [" Cain "] I have gotten a man from the Lord, /. c., 
have obtained or received the man whom God promised.* When 
she had another son, she named him Abel, i. <?., superfluous, not out 
of scornful pride, but of gratulation, because God had abundanty 
given what he had promised. As if she would say : That munifi- 
cent God has done more than he promised.f But in a short time 
she who had deemed herself more than happy in her sons was 
bereaved, for he who as the firstborn was the hope of his parents, 
arose and killed his brother, who merited and expected no such 
thing. So all fell out that everything depended upon one ; Abel 
was slain ; Cain, the murderer, showed clearly by the working of 
his conscience that out of him should not arise the one who was 
to repair the fall of his parents. But God in his goodness suc- 
cored them in this calamity, and he sent them another son, as a 

*The name is commonly interpreted "acquisition.'' 

t Modern scholars made the name "Abel " mean " breath " or " vanity." 


branch from whom posterity should flourish. So his name was 
Seth, /. e., one placed or given, for the Hebrews often used the 
word to place or give in the sense " given of God." * From him 
then posterity was derived up to Noah, who was the most just 
and unoffending of all in his times. And when the human race 
was borne along by its cupidity and violence, and by its boldness 
left nothing undone, he destroyed all in a flood, since they would 
not hear Noah, who had been sent by God. But Noah and his 
family alone were saved in the ark. The covenant was renewed 
with him, in whom the whole human race was renewed and 
spreading to all parts of the earth in order to its cultivation. 
Meanwhile God was not unmindful of his counsel, and so passing 
by all the rest, even the best of them, he embraced Abraham and 
selected him out of all for this purpose, that from him might come 
the posterity that would save not only the Jews, but the whole 
human race. With him then he renewed the covenant he had 
compacted with Adam, and made it clearer, for the nearer 
approached the time of his Son's advent, the more openly did he 
speak with them. Therefore he promised him first his own 
goodness, that he would be his God, and he required of him in 
return that he should excel, /. e., should walk before him in right 
doing. He then promised that he would give him that blessed 
seed that was to bruise the head of the old serpent and should 
raise to an unfailing hope of safety the head of man bowed down 
by the serpent. He promised also an innumerable posterity to 
be born to him not only after the flesh, but also according to the 
spirit. Finally he promised him Palestine. And as the sign of 
this covenant he ordered circumcision. And the stranger and 
sojourner so grew that they who had knowledge of the man could 
easily see that God was with him. And God did all that he had 
promised. And when his posterity had increased to an enormous 
multitude in Egypt, he selected not one tribe alone, nor one 
man, as before, with which or whom to keep the covenant he 

* " Seth " is now interpreted "substitution." 


had made, but although Judah the son of Israel was designated 
as he from whom the Saviour should be born, yet the rest of the 
tribes which came of Abraham were not excluded from the cove- 
nant or from his friendship that he had given to their father 
Abraham. Just as he did not change anything with those who 
afterwards were of Judah, yet not of the house of David, who 
was himself peculiarly marked out as the father of the coming 
Christ, all were regarded as under the covenant who had de- 
scended from Abraham. Now to return to the point. This, I 
say, is the Israelitic or Hebrew people whom the Lord marked 
out as his own peculiar people from all races and peoples, so that 
it should tower above all peoples, just as the colleges of priests 
stood forth prominent among that race and all races, as he testi- 
fies in his words in Ex. xix. 5 : Now, therefore, if ye will obey 
my voice indeed, and keep my covenants, ye shall be my excel- 
lent people, *'. e., my own peculiar and sought-out people of all 
peoples although the whole earth is mine. And ye shall be a 
kingdom consisting of priests to me and a holy race. 

Here then the Catabaptists have a medicine or plaster for their 
whole error, if they would suffer it to be applied. If ye will hear 
my voice and keep my covenant, he says. Here is God speak- 
ing synecdochically ! For when he addresses the whole people : 
If ye hear my voice and keep my covenant, etc., which can be 
referred to those alone who hear and can have desire to keep the 
covenant, yet he no more excludes infants because they do not 
hear or understand what is to be kept than they who were bound 
in sleep or mentally. For they who are of one body are consid- 
ered together. But since infants are of the people of God, they 
are not excluded because they cannot hear or understand. For 
that they are members of one and the same body of God's people 
is clear from this, that circumcision, the sign of the covenant, is 
given them. For God with his own mouth named both the 
covenant and the sign of the covenant, because he who was of 
the covenant was sealed with this sign. Paul in i Cor. xii. 13 


says : In one spirit we are all baptized into one body. But you 
Catabaptists yourselves argue that if one comes to the Lord's 
table, he must first through baptism have become of Christ's 
body. I do not say this because now or hereafter I wish to 
teach that circumcision or baptism introduces one into Christ, 
but that I may show that the circumcised or baptized are in the 
body of God's church, although I take no exception to the 
change of form : We are baptized into one body, instead of : 
We who are of one body are baptized in one baptism, for by 
nature being of the body precedes bearing the mark of the body. 
So also Paul says : In one spirit we were all baptized into one 
body. The grace of the spirit by which we are admitted into 
union with the church precedes the sign of union. For no one 
is sealed unless he has first been enrolled in the army or service. 
I therefore am coming to this : If they who are baptized in one 
baptism have come into one body, doubtless they who were sealed 
with one circumcision, the sign of the covenant they were also 
gathered into one body. Hebrew infants were sealed with cir- 
cumcision, the sign of the covenant ; they were therefore under 
the covenant. Since they were under the covenant, and God 
spoke with that body which was joined with him by the covenant, 
whether we will or not we are compelled to confess that the 
words : " If ye hear and keep "are a synecdoche by which infants 
are not excluded, even though certain things do not apply to 
them. I will give another example, to try if they can in any way be 
made to see the truth. Plutarch teaches in his book, " On the delay 
of the divine justice," * that a people, a city or a tribe is one, even 
as a man is one. It therefore makes no difference if races, cities 
and peoples are not punished as soon as they transgress, for no 

* Eng. trans. Plutarch on the delay of the Divine Justice, trans. A. P. 
Peabody. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1885. The Latin title is De sera 
numinis vindicta. It is one of his Opera mora/ia; Eng. trans., PlutarcKs 
miscellanies and essays ; trans, revised by W. W. Goodwin, Boston, 1872-74, 
5 vols. 


one can escape the' hand of the deity. So it follows that some 
people are punished many years afterwards when none are living 
of those who sinned. But this is just the same as if those who 
sinned themselves suffer punishment, for a tribe, a city or a 
people is one body or, as it were, one man. So consider it in 
this place that the children of Hebrews and of Christians are 
of the same body as their parents, and when it is said " Hear, O 
Israel " and infants cannot hear does not say that they are 
not of the people of God. For although to-day they cannot, yet 
some time they will act, hear and understand. And those are 
no less regarded by God himself as among the sons of God who 
are destined to this, if when he speaks to their elders they them- 
selves do not understand. About which in the following, when 
we come to election. 

There follows " Ye shall be my own peculiar people, sought 
out." The Latin interpreter says : In peculium eritis mihi. Peter 
said an acquired people, or, according to the Hebrew scheme, 
one of acquisition. This is therefore the singular people of God, 
which he bore upon his shoulders, which he lifted above all peril, 
just as an eagle flies above all peril. By which metaphors the 
divine prophets mean this : This people was ever loved by the 
Lord above all peoples of the earth, was preserved and fostered, 
just as a father lifts his children upon his shoulders and bears 
them, or a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. But this 
is not to be so received as though the Hebrew infants were not 
of the people of God, since they bore the sign of that body not 
without the order of him who was the author of the covenant. 

Of all peoples. By these words God secretly implies election. 
For God has not bound his own choice or the freedom of his 
will to any external or sign or deed. But in every nation he who 
fears God and does what is right is accepted and is pleasing to 
him. Acts x. 35. Whence from his selecting the Israelites out 
of all peoples it does not follow that no one not of that people 
was to be saved (for the election of God is ever free), but that 


for his Son's glory he would make that people wonderful above 
all and peculiarly loved. 

For the whole earth is mine, or, even though the whole earth is 
mine. This also refers to the privilege and glory of this people, 
and asserts election. For although all peoples of the whole earth 
are the Lord's, yet he selected Israel to be his part, possession 
and lot. Is. xix. 25. Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria 
the work of my hands, and Israel shall be my inheritance. 

And ye shall be my sacerdotal kingdom, or as I have interpreted 
it, Ye shall be to me a kingdom consisting of priests. For the 
Hebrew has kingdom of priests, though to avoid the ambiguity is 
the sense given rightly in the shape I adopt. Just as the ambas- 
sadors of Pyrrhus or some other prince said that the Roman 
senate was composed of kings because of the solemn dignity and 
majesty of the senators, so the whole Israelite kingdom is said to 
be a kingdom of priests or consisting of priests, both because of 
its system of ceremonies and the excellence of its law and its 
prophets, and because of the covenant and friendship which the 
Lord had with and for this state. Therefore the Israelitic people 
excelled all others on the earth, both in those matters which per- 
tain to God and in those pertaining to nobility of race. For as 
they were all sprung from one, so from them sprung he who was 
made the only king and emperor of all nations. What greater 
nobility or what equal grace is discoverable? 

Was it not the greatest glory if one were sprung from that race, 
since God had cherished it above all others, had made it his own 
and made a covenant with it? And although all these matters 
are most noted throughout Scripture, and everywhere treated, 
yet Paul above all treats it in brief but clear words in Rom. ix. 
3 : I could wish, he says, that myself were accursed from Christ 
for my brethren, who are my kinsmen after the flesh, who are 
Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, the glory, the cove- 
nants, the giving of the law, the service, the promises, whose are 
the fathers and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh ; who 


is above all God blessed for ever. See how he makes out the 
Israelites to be adopted as sons of God, even though very many 
of them had displeased the Lord. He says theirs is the glory, 
for what majesty is equal to theirs, that they are the people of 
God, sons of God, and that from them was born the Saviour of all? 
Theirs are the covenants also, for whatever the Lord has cove- 
nanted with the human race has been done through this people. 
Whose is the giving of the law, for the highest and best was not 
satisfied to enter into covenant or alliance with them without 
fortifying his people by divine and righteous laws. Theirs, too, 
was the service, for God showed them how worship could best be 
done, in righteousness, equity and innocence. But it is not to 
be believed that the service of animal sacrifice which he had 
pointed out to them displeased him, though it meant only disci- 
pline, circumspection and foreshadowing. He willed the disci- 
pline of this service among them that they might have rites by 
which they might less revolt to the service of idols than if such 
rites were absent. But he wished to indicate by animal victims 
that there would come some time a victim that would cleanse 
their souls. For he wished to accustom them by bodily victims 
to the idea of a victim for perfection and for their souls, that 
when they saw beasts commanded for the external purification 
of the flesh they might learn that a victim would come to purify 
their souls also. For they could all understand that God's care 
was first for the souls and then for the body. Theirs was the 
service, whether it represented the true service or was itself the 
true service, for from them was born he through whom all true 
worshipers and adorers should approach to God. The promises 
also were made to them alone ; I say nothing about the sibyl's 
poems, whether they were produced among them or introduced. 
Still this people of God stood for this, that whatever good he 
wished to bestow upon the human race he gave or promised 
through this quasi priesthood. It was then the special people 
whose were the promises, even though he spoke also through sibyl 


prophetesses among the Gentiles, that we might recognize the 
liberty of his will and the authority of his election.* But theirs 
are the fathers also, men filled with God, some of whom, though 
almost the whole world was living a bestial life (for where God is 
not worshiped what difference is there between man and beast?) 
and was following its own raging affections, alone honored God, 
believed his word and submitted themselves to his will. Others 
boldly announced the good things which through the in-breathing 
of the Holy Spirit they saw coming to the obedient and God- 
fearing, or the evil in store for the rebellious, impious and contu- 
macious. These, I say, were the fathers, whom we call patriarchs 
and prophets, to whom the promises were made, and they came 
of the Israelites, the people of God. 

In short (for why should we use much testimony in so clear a 
matter?), I mean this: The Israelites were God's people with 
whom he entered into covenant, whom he made especially his 
own, tt> whom also he gave a sign of his covenant from the least 
to the greatest, because high and low were in covenant with him, 
were his people and were of his church. And when, in giving 
command or prohibition, he addresses that whole people, the in- 
fants are not excluded because they understand nothing of what 
is said or commanded, but he speaks synecdochically, so that so 
far from excluding that part which could receive nothing that 
came because of the times or its age he even includes it, just as 
when a person acts with a man he acts also with all the family 
and his posterity. So that he often addresses the whole people 
as one man : Hear, O Israel, and : Say to the house of Jacob, 

Therefore the same covenant which he entered into with Israel 
he has in these latter days entered into with us, that we may be 
one people with them, one church, and may have also one cove- 
nant. I suppose that some will vainly cry out : See how that 
fellow would make Jews of us, though we have always been told 

* This remark shows how extremely liberally-minded Zwingli was. 


of two peoples, two churches and two covenants. See Gen. xxv. 
23 and Gal. iv. 22. To which my answer is : Whenever there is 
held in Scripture that there are two distinct and diverse peoples, 
necessarily one of these is not the people of God. For both 
when the Jews were God's people and we who are Gentiles were 
not, and now when we who are Gentiles are God's people and 
the Jews are cut off, there is only one people of God, not two. 
In Gen. xxv. 23 we read : Two peoples shall be separated from 
thy bowels, it is not to be understood as though both were and 
would be his people at the same time. But Jacob he loved and 
Esau he hated before they struggled in her womb. Therefore 
ever one and the same people is that which cherishes the one 
true and only God, from whatsoever parents it was born. And 
again, they are diverse who follow a diverse cultus, though one 
and the same birth- pang produce them. When therefore he 
spoke of two peoples formerly, one was Jewish, the other Gentile. 
The Jew worshiped the high God, but the Gentile was impious. 
Now when we speak of the church of the Gentiles, it is the same 
now as that former one of the Jews, and the people of the Gen- 
tiles or the impious are [now] the people of Israel. For we are 
put in their place after they have been cut off, not in some place 
next them. But two covenants are spoken of, not that they are 
two diverse covenants, for this would necessitate not only two 
diverse peoples, but also two gods. Since some ancients did not 
see this, they taught that two diverse gods existed, one of the 
Old, the other of the New Testament ; the one cruel, the other 
gentle and kind.* So Paul indeed speaks of two testaments, but 
the one he calls a testament by a misuse of language, when he 
wishes them to be understood who, although they were under 
that one eternal covenant and testament, yet on account of the 
externals which they tenaciously retained betrayed the light and 
Christ himself. Paul therefore called the way of these a testa- 
ment, not that it was a true testament, but by a copying or 

* So taught, e. ?., the Gnostics. 


imitation of those who so named it. For this is the testament, that 
that God Almighty is ours, but we are his people. Now before 
Christ's coming there were many types, but these were not them- 
selves a testament, but were foreshadowings of the light to come 
from the testament itself. 

They therefore who according to the gross nature of man held 
more tenaciously to foreshadowings than was right, preferred to 
lose the light rather than the foreshadowings, not unlike that 
madman who seriously complained that his friends labored for 
his healing.* After the manner of these then Paul said there were 
two testaments, one leading to servitude, the other to liberty. 
For some supposed that they should consider that salvation could 
be obtained by acts and ceremonies. Yet others saw that by 
mercy alone was approach to God through him who was to come. 
But this was the testament, that an appendix to the testament 
foreshadowing the one to come. So therefore Paul calls the 
appendix to the testament the testament. For the same testa- 
ment, i. e., the same mercy of God promised to the world through 
his Son, saved Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, which saved 
also Peter, Paul, Ananias,f Gamaliel and Stephen. Now let me 
adduce Scripture testimony, by which all becomes clear. 

In Matt. viii. 1 1 Christ says : And I say unto you, many shall 
come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, 
Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. In these words it is 
disclosed to us with whom we shall be united with those whose 
are the promises, the testament, the covenant, the fathers, 
prophets, all things, as all things are ours through Christ. It 
follows therefore that there is one church of them and us. 

This way tends that most luminous parable of the master who 
summoned workmen to cultivate his vineyard, some of whom 
came early, some seasonably, others after almost the whole day 

* Referring probably to some case of recent occurrence and well known to 
his readers. 

tThe one mentioned as visiting Saul in his blindness (Acts ix. 10-19. 


had passed. Here we see one vineyard, one Master, and (what 
caused astonishment in the workmen) one equal reward to all. 
What does this signify to us but one heavenly Father, one vine- 
yard the church, one regard Christ, i. e., salvation through 

But let it not occur to any one that the ancients had access to 
God, not by Christ, but by observance of the law a thing that 
some seem to think because there are two testaments, one that 
leads to servitude, and the other which is in freedom of the 
spirit through Christ. They think then that the old requires 
observance of the law for salvation, not Christ, not seeing that 
the law even when kept does not save. For if righteousness is 
through the law, then Christ died in vain. In my opinion, 
indeed, the law would save, /. e., we should be saved (for the 
law is spiritual) if we kept the law entirely and according to the 
will of God, but this is possible to no flesh. Through the law 
then we learn only our condemnation, for by it we are included 
in sin and bound unto the penalty. From this it is easily inferred 
that they also who were under the law saw that by one salvation 
through Christ both they and the whole world are saved. This 
Christ himself teaches clearly when in John viii. 56 he addresses 
the hypocrites of the law : Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
my day ; he saw it and was glad. Then Abraham desired nothing 
so much as the coming of him who as promised he did not doubt 
would be to his great good. Still he had not yet come. When 
then the time was fulfilled and Christ was in the world Abraham 
already rejoiced. Therefore as they had one and the same 
Saviour with us they were one people with us, and we one people 
and one church with them, even though they came before us a 
long time into the vineyard. It is also clear what the bosom of 
Abraham is, about which many have anxiously inquired. For it 
can be nothing else than the sodality of the early believers to be 
everywhere preserved for the coming of Christ. For just like 
Abraham, since they were justified by faith, they desired to see 


the day of Christ the Saviour. Which bosom (if one likes that 
word) is now to us the heavenly association with the Son of 
God and with all who are with him. 

Paul, wherever there arises a question about the difference 
between Jews and Gentiles who had faith, carefully proves that 
one people and one chufch arises from both. In Rom. xi. he 
makes election the basis of this ; formerly the Jews were by elec- 
tion the people of God, now the Gentiles are. Yet not in such 
a way that from the Jews none might any longer be within the 
association of the elect (since he was an Israelite himself and yet 
was sent as a minister for the preaching of the gospel of salva- 
tion), but that they should last until the multitude of the nations 
came in. And this Christ meant when he said that the lord of 
the vineyard would let it to other husbandmen but it was the 
same vineyard. They are not then diverse or two churches, not 
two peoples. They are, indeed, two in name, but unless they 
were made the same people in one spirit they are not the people 
of God. In Eph. ii. 1 1 he thus speaks : Wherefore remember 
that ye who were in time past Gentiles according to the flesh, 
who were called uncircumcision by the circumcision which itself 
was circumcised with hands, that at that time ye were without 
Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers 
from the covenant of promise, having no hope and being atheoi, 
i. <?., without God, in the world, but now ye are in Christ Jesus 
who once were far off, but now are made nigh by the blood of 
Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, the mid- 
dle wall of partition being broken down, abolishing in his flesh 
the enmity by the making void of the law of commandments 
with the ordinances, to make in himself of two one new man, and 
that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, 
the enmity being slain in himself. And he came and preached 
peace to you that were afar off, and to those also who were nigh. 
For through him we both have access to the Father in one spirit. 
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow 


citizens with the saints and of the household of God, built upon 
the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself 
being the chief corner-stone, etc. By which words Paul means 
throughout what I do in the present, i. e., that one people has 
been made of both through one Christ Jesus, who has united into 
one both those who once were near and us who were most distant. 
Weigh carefully, good reader, the words of Paul, and you will find 
abundantly what we assert here. For there is no need of treating 
at length so holy and evident a proposition. 

Also Heb. xii. 22 : But ye are come unto Mount Zion and to 
the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an 
innumerable company of thousands of angels, and to the church 
of the first-born that are written in heaven, and to God the 
Judge of all, etc. By which words also Paul teaches that through 
Christ we are united to the people of God. 

And all the apostles believed this, that there is one testament, 
one people of God in all, *'. e., from the least to the greatest they 
are considered within the people of God, and that there is one 
church of God compacted out of all peoples through one spirit 
into one. For Peter in Acts ii. 36 says : That all the house of 
Israel may know assuredly that God hath made Lord and Christ 
this Jesus whom ye have crucified. As he says here that 
Jesus was made thejjChrist, that is Messiah, the Saviour to the 
Jews, therefore also the Jews have salvation. And a little 
after (he says) : The promise is to you and your children, and 
to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call. 
Here he asserts that the promise was not only to those who then 
heard, but to their children also, who were either born or were 
to be born. So in [Acts] iii. 25 this same Peter says : Ye are the 
children of the prophets and of the covenant which God made 
with your fathers, saying unto Abraham : And in thy seed shall 
all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Here he makes Christ 
bejong to the Jews ; through him alone they as well as we are 
saved. For he came first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. 


Rom. i. 1 6. Afterwards in Acts x. 34 he says: Of a truth I 
perceive that God is no respecter of persons, etc., as I have 
hinted above. Here Peter proves that Christ is also of the 
Gentiles. We have therefore one and the same Saviour. Then, 
too, in Acts xi. 18, where Peter tells how the whole affair with 
reference to Cornelius happened, it says : When they heard these 
things they held their peace and glorified God, saying: Then 
hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life (for 
the word repentance is here used synecdochically for the gospel 
itself, as I have elsewhere shown). We see therefore attributed 
here to the Gentiles what formerly he said belonged to the Jews 
and their children. 

Also i Pet. ii. 9 : But ye are a chosen generation, a royal 
priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show 
forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into 
his glorious light, which in time past were not a people, but are 
now the people of God, which had not obtained mercy, but now 
have obtained mercy. By these words of Peter we see that 
Christian people are now that elect race which the Hebrews once 
were, as I have shown above from Ex. xix. [5, 6]. Also the same 
royal priesthood which is now of all nations, which also belong, 
to God (for the whole earth is his), and which the Lord holds- 
in honor and as of value just as he formerly held the Jewish race- 
as a priesthood of all peoples. A holy race, from which infants 
are not excluded posterity belongs to the race as much as 
parents do a people sought and obtained by the blood of Christ. 
Which people was not a people once (for he alludes to Hos. i. 9), 
but now is the people of God. Therefore we are they who 
formerly Abraham and his like were. 

All these things, to shorten sail in this part of the discussion, 
make for this, that we may know that it is one and the same 
testament which God had with the human race from the founda- 
tion of the world to its dissolution. For God is not prosphatos, 
i. e., recent, or of an uncertain wisdom that mends in time what 


had at first been unwisely begun. He knew that man would 
perish as he did by his own fault, and he had prepared the 
healing by Jesus, that is, the Saviour, before man gave himself 
the self-inflicted wound. God therefore made no other covenant 
with the miserable race of man than that he had already con- 
ceived before man was formed. One and the same testament 
has always been in force. There is ever one and the same un- 
changeable God, one only Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God 
not by adoption, but by nature, God eternal and blessed for 
ever. So there could be no other testament than that which 
furnished salvation through Jesus Christ. By him alone is access 
to the Father, so Abraham even came to God by no other way 
than by him who was promised. One way, one truth, one life, 
one mediator between God and man, Christ. Through him 
alone is access to God. Therefore there is one only testament, 
for the covenant with God tends only that we may have eternal 
peace and joy. 

Yet before I come to conclusion I wish to reply to a question 
which is perhaps not so fine spun as it appears. What difference 
is there between the Old and the New Testament? Very much 
and very little, I reply. Very little if you regard those chief 
points which concern God and us ; very much if you regard what 
concerns us alone. The sum is here : God is our God ; we are 
his people. In these there is the least, in fact, no difference. 
The chief thing is the same to-day as it ever was. For just as 
Abraham embraced Jesus his blessed seed, and through him was 
saved, so also to-day we are saved through him. But so far as 
human infirmity is concerned, many things came to them in a 
figure to instruct them and be a testimony to us. These are 
therefore the things which seem to distinguish the Old Testament 
from the New, while in the thing itself or in what pertains to 
the chief thing they differ not at all. First, Christ is now given, 
whom formerly they awaited with great desire. Simeon is a 
witness. Second, they who died then in faith did not ascend 


into heaven, but [went] to the bosom of Abraham; now he who 
trusts in Christ comes not into judgment, but hath passed from 
death into life. Third, types were offered, as is shown in He- 
brews. Fourth, the light shines more clearl y, so far as pertains 
to the illumination of the understanding, for ceremonies, while 
they of themselves made nothing more obscure, yet added much 
to the priests, and these were not so strong in inculcating religion 
and innocence as they would have been if avarice had not 
induced the shortening of ceremonies. Fifth, the testament is 
now preached and expounded to all nations, while formerly one 
nation alone enjoyed it. Sixth, before there was never set forth 
for men a model for living as has now been done by Christ. 
For the blood of Christ, mingled with the blood and slaughter of 
the Innocents, would have been able to atone for our faults, but 
then we should have lacked the model. 

Now I state the conclusion. Since therefore there is one 
immutable God and one testament only, we who trust in Christ 
are under the same testament, consequently God is as much our 
God as he was Abraham's, and we are as much his people as 
was Israel. 

The Catabaptists object here that Paul wrote in Gal. iii. 7 : 
" Know ye therefore that they that are of faith are Abraham's 
children." and like passages from Scripture, all of which it would 
be " pedantic " or " overburdensome " to put down here. But 
if they had correctly weighed the discussion that Paul pursues 
here, or the force of synecdoche, they would raise no such 
objections. Paul's question is, whether we acquire salvation by 
the works of the law or does grace come in? And he decides 
that grace comes in by faith, and not from works. All of these 
things he says synecdochically, as are all such things throughout 
Scripture which pertain to this argument. Abraham was justi- 
fied by faith. Here is synecdoche. If this were not so it would 
follow that Hebrew infants were not of the people of God, which 
has been shown to be false, for they did not believe, and there- 


fore according to the Catabaptists' faith they were not sons of 
Abraham. Therefore they believed who were destined for this 
by God when age allowed it and they were of the people of God ; 
those who were circumcised grew and advanced until they at- 
tained intelligence and belief, and meanwhile they were of the 
people of God. Not only believers then are of the church and 
people of God, but their children. And when the Catabaptists 
admit that sons of Abraham according to the flesh were within 
the people of God, but suppose that our own sons according to 
the flesh are not, they commit a great wrong. For how is the 
testament and covenant the same if our children are not equally 
with those [of the Jews] of the church and people of God? Is 
Christ less kind to us than to the Hebrews? God forbid ! 

The other objections that they offer are either answered in the 
following or are of no moment. As when they say : Then males 
only must be baptized, and on the eighth day only. For these 
constituents have been removed, so that we are bound neither 
to any race nor time nor circumstance, but under this condition, 
that in these matters we do not transgress piety. For among the 
ancients females no less than males were under the testament, 
even if they were not circumcised. 

It results then after all this that just as the Hebrews' children, 
because they with their parents were under the covenant, merited 
the sign of the covenant, so also Christians' infants, because 
they are counted within the church and people of Christ, ought 
in no way to be deprived of baptism, the sign of the covenant, and 
the arguments of the Catabaptists, which because of their ignorance 
of figures and tropes they think valid, are of no avail against us. 
And we shall not on account of our ignorance compel the Holy 
Spirit to lay aside its own method of speaking. He has always 
spoken to the whole church some things which did not fit a 
great part, but that part was not on this account cast out of the 
church, out of the people, out of the covenant of God. And 
the fact that the sacraments, so far as pertains to externals is 


concerned, were not the same, does not oppose the truth, for so 
far as meaning is concerned they were the same. For as circum- 
cision was the signature of the covenant, so is baptism ; as the 
Passover was the commemoration of the passage, so is the 
eucharist the grateful memorial * of Christ's death. Whence 
the divine Paul, i Cor. v. 7-8 ; x. 18, and Col. ii. n, attributes 
baptism to them, and also the eucharist or spiritual feasting on 
Christ, but to us the Passover and circumcision, and so makes all 
equal on both sides. So far upon one and the same testament, 
church and people of God. 

On Election. 

I am now compelled to treat of election or else forego my 
promise, but not so fully as the subject demands. For this is 
beyond my power and purpose. But I shall show election to be 
sure, /. <?., free and not at all bound, and above baptism and 
circumcision ; nay, above faith and preaching. But this briefly. 
When most of us read Paul's epistle to the Romans we ponder a 
little carelessly upon the cause of his mentioning election and 
the following predestination. He had shown that salvation rests 
on faith, and faith is not a matter of human power, but of divine 
spirit ; who therefore has faith has at the same time the divine 
spirit. They who have this are sons of God, walk not after the 
flesh, but whatever they do is a help to them for good. Now 
arises the query, why then are they acursed or condemned who 
do not believe? Since he has fallen on this subject, willingly or 
not, he treats it worthily about in this order and manner : We 
are saved by faith, not by works. Faith is not by human power, 
but God's. He therefore gives it to those whom he has called, 
but he has called those whom he has destined for salvation, and 
he has destined this for those whom he has elected, but he has 
elected whom he willed, for this is free to him and open, as it 
is for a potter to make diverse vessels from the same lump. This 

* " Gratianum actio " again "the giving of thanks for." 


briefly is the argument and sum of election as treated by Paul. 
He says therefore, Rom. viii. 28 : We know that all things work 
together for good to them that love God. Now lest you should 
say : Who therefore love God, or to whom are all things for 
good ? he anticipates and replies : To those who according to 
purpose are of the called. Do not understand this of a human 
purpose, but of God's, so that the sense is : Who are sanctified 
of God's purpose, for to be called is here for to be truly sanctified. 
As when it is said : He shall be called the Son of the Most High. 
Here shall be called is Hebrew idiom for shall truly be. I return 
to the argument. Purpose is for Paul that freest deliberation 
by which God is girded for electing, as in ix. 1 1 we see when he 
says : That the purpose of God according to election may stand- 
His purpose is therefore above election, /". e., first by nature. It 
may happen among men that something is elected, but there is a 
reason for its election, e. g., it is elected because it seems useful 
or right. This purpose or deliberation is not free, but depends 
on that which is elected. Since Paul wishes to show that God's 
election is born of his free purpose, and not from those whom he 
is about to elect, he says that the free purpose is the cause why 
all things work for good to those who love God. Nothing is 
ascribed to man's merit. For he adds : For whom he foreknew 
{pronunciavif) he also predestinated to be conformed to the 
image of his Son, etc. I have translated npotyvu by " pronun- 
ciavit," which word has the same force as if you should say 
predetermined or foreordained. This is then the apostle's mean- 
ing : I said that all will result in good for those who according to 
God's purpose are of the called. This I would have understood 
thus : God freely with himself settles upon, prejudges and fore- 
ordains (for by this word the word for " purposing " is ex- 
pounded) whom he will, even before they are born. Whom he 
thus foreordains he marks out beforehand, /'. e., destines them to 
be conformed to the image of his Son. As if he should say : 
No one can be conformed to Christ unless he has been destined 


for this. Paul proceeds : Whom he predestined he also called 
Here before calling we have predestination or marking out. 
Whom he called he also justified. But are we not justified by 
faith? Yes, but calling precedes faith. For Christ warns also 
that no one can come to him unless the Father have drawn him. 
To draw and to call are here equivalents. But whom he justified 
he also glorified, for they who believe are eternally honored with 
him in whom they have believed. Here then is the knot How 
does faith bless or how justify? We see that the first thing is 
God's deliberation or purpose or election, second his predestina- 
tion or marking out, third his calling, fourth justification. Since 
then all these are of God, and faith hardly holds the fourth 
place, how is it that we say that salvation comes of faith, since 
wherever faith is there also is justification, or rather, each person's 
salvation has before been so determined and foreordained with 
God that it is impossible that one so elected can be condemned? 
But by a light blow of synecdoche * what seems insoluble dissolves- 
For faith is used for the election of God, the predestination or 
calling, which all precede faith, but in the same order. So if you 
say : God's election, predestination or marking out, calling, 
beatifies, you will ever say right. Why? Because the harmoni- 
ous order and connections of these are such that you may use 
one of these without the other and yet not exclude the others; 
especially is this the case when you take faith, which is inferior 
and posterior to election, predestination or calling. Since then 
the justification which is of faith closely follows calling, we see 
with no trouble that salvation is attributed to faith because they 
who have faith are called, elected and foreordained. 

But why is salvation attributed to faith above the others? 
Why does Paul use this link out of the chain? I reply, because 

* This rhetorical figure wherein the part is put for the whole, or a whole for 
a part, is considered by Zwingli an unanswerable argument. Instances of it 
are frequent. E. g., the Athenians are often spoken of as if they comprised 
all the Greeks, and what they did the Greeks are said to have done. 


that is best known to us. For each one questions and examines 
conscience according to Peter's word. If it rightly replies, *'. e. t 
if with full assurance he thinks correctly of God, he has now the 
surest seal of eternal salvation. For who has faith is called, who 
is called is predestined, who is predestined is elected, who is 
elected is foreordained. But God's election remains firm. 
Therefore they who have faith are justified. For this is justifica- 
tion, piety, religion and service of the Most High God. So that 
no condemnation awaits them, for they are not of those who 
say : Let us sin that the glory of God may be the brighter, but 
of those who as often as they sin through weakness return to 
God and pray : Forgive us our sins. They are not of those 
who, when they have sinned, are so far from returning to a 
correct state of mind that they fall into impiety and assert that 
there is no God, but of those who grieve not so much because 
they have offended every creature as that they have offended 
God alone, their own heart and soul and mind, and then say : 
Against thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight. 
This, I say, is the justification of faith ; to these all things are for 
good, but the contrary to the impious. Adultery and murder 
were for good to David, for he was righteous through faith. For 
he repented his deed and did not fall from hope. It was evil to 
him who was not as other men, because he had not faith, there- 
fore he was not called or predestined or elected. 

I think these arguments are brief, as I promised, but clear and 
sure. But for what purpose ? That I may reply to the Cata- 
baptists. For they argue against me in the tract in which they 
suppose they have refuted me : " How are the Hebrews' infants 
of the people, sons, and church of God? We believe the elect 
are of the people of God, like Jacob, by no means those thrust 
out or repudiated. For, according to Rom. ix. 11-13, when 
they were yet in their parents' womb and had done neither good 
nor evil, God said : Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. 
How then could Esau be of God's people ? It is then false what 


Zwingli asserts, that the Hebrews' infants were of the people and 
church of God." To which I think I may now the more advan- 
tageously answer, inasmuch as I have said these few things about 
election and predestination, in about the following manner : It 
is sure that with God no one is of his people or of his sons except 
he whom he has elected, and it is also sure that every one is his 
whom he has elected. But in this way, O Catabaptistj, all your 
foundation has fallen away. For not only believers (as you 
would understand " believers " in actuality) are the sons of God, 
but those who are elect are sons even before they believe, just 
as you yourselves prove by the example of Jacob. 

What then shall we do with the saying : Who believeth not 
shall be condemned? For infants do not believe, they will then 
be condemned. Again, the elect were chosen before they were 
conceived ; they are at once then sons of God, even if they die 
before they believe or are called to faith. You see the chain 
and order ! Faith is in that order the last thing beyond glorifi- 
cation, therefore what precedes it is no less certain than faith 
itself. For as it is true " he believes, therefore is saved," so it 
is not less true that " he is called, therefore is saved." (I am 
not speaking here of that calling of which Christ said : Many are 
called but few chosen. For there he means the external calling, 
by which many are invited by the preaching of the word. Now 
I mean that internal calling which Christ calls " drawing.") It 
is equally true : He is predestined, therefore saved, and he is 
elect, therefore saved. Do you not see that whatever is in this 
chain and precedes faith is equally with faith followed by salva- 
tion? For " Who is elect shall be saved " is as true as " Who 
hath believed shall be saved." On the other hand, equal infer- 
ences cannot be drawn by arguing from the prior matters to faith 
unless we accept faith otherwise than for that fact and certitude 
of mind which regards the invisible things, about which later. 
For it does not follow " He is elect, therefore believes." For 
Jacob was elect when he had not yet believed. Nor does this 


follow, " He does not believe, therefore is not elect." For the 
elect are ever elect, even before they believe. When therefore 
it is said : " Who believeth not shall be condemned," it must be 
that faith is used for that chain already spoken of, so that the 
meaning is : " Who is not elect shall not be saved." Or else for 
this, that it means " to be within the faithful people," or (as best 
approves itself to rny reason) that it is said synecdochically of 
those alone who have reached that point that they can under- 
stand language Who believeth not shall be condemned. For 
faith is not of all the elect, as now is clear of elect infants, but 
it is the fruit of election, predestination and calling, which is 
given in its fit time. Therefore as that saying : Who believeth 
shall be saved, does not exclude those who are elect, and who 
before they arrive at maturity of faith join the band of them that 
are elect, to damn them the more, so that saying : Who believeth 
not is condemned, does not include those who are elect but do 
not reach to maturity of faith, to save them the less. By the 
words, Who hath believed and Who hath not believed, it may 
therefore be inferred they are not included who by reason of 
age are not able to hear, nor those to whom the knowledge of the 
gospel has not come. It may also be inferred that those sayings, 
Who hath believed, etc., and Who hath not believed, have not 
the sense of precedence, as though faith necessarily preceded all, 
/. e., election, predestination and calling. For if this is true, 
then that antecedent determination or purpose or predestination 
of God would not be free, but election would follow then finally, 
when faith had rendered the man suitable for election. For 
only those could be elected who already believed, the contrary of 
which is clear. But the words have the " sense of consequence :" 
Be assured that he who believes has been elected by the Father 
and predestined and called. He believes therefore because he 
has been elected and predestined to eternal salvation, and he 
who believeth not has been repudiated by the free election of 
God. And here is disclosed to us the power of the keys, so far 


as they were given to the apostles. When one says that he 
believes, the apostle promises him : If thou believest from thy 
heart, be it sure to thee that thou art called, predestined and 
elected to eternal salvation. Therefore this man of ours is 
absolved and justified, about which we have spoken above. But 
when the apostle sees that there is no faith in those that hear, he 
is sure that they are rejected. They are then ordered to shake 
off the dust from their feet, that is, to go quickly from such, not 
as though now first these deserve to be shunned, but because 
the apostles are now first made sure of their rejection by their 
aversion to faith ; on the other hand, when they see the faith 
they are sure of their election. So therefore such words were 
said as : By their fruits ye shall know them. A good tree cannot 
bear evil fruit, nor an evil tree good fruit. Who believeth shall 
doubtless be saved, for faith is the fruit of election, so that, ye 
apostles, ye may have an indication of success. But who does 
not believe after arriving at years of maturity for receiving your 
teaching is not elect ; he is an evil tree, so you may know among 
whom your labor is fruitless. 

From all this we make two necessary inferences. First, that 
we are sure of the salvation of those who show faith when they 
reach that maturity that ought to show the fruit of election ; if 
they do not show this we are contrariwise sure of their rejection. 
Behold how we recognize salvation or shipwreck by the faith 
alone of the elect or rejected who have reached that maturity 
when we may expect faith, the fruit of election. So that infants 
born to those who are in the covenant and people of God we 
may not measure by the norm and touch-stone of faith. Second, 
since those alone who have heard and afterward either believe or 
remain in their unfaith are subject to our judgment, we err 
gravely in judging the infant children both of the Gentiles and 
of Christians. Of the Gentiles, for no law condemns them, 
they do not fall under that saying : Who believeth not, etc. 
Then since the election of God is unrestrained, it is impious for 


us to exclude from that those of whom we cannot judge from 
the signs of faith and unfaith whether they are included or not- 
Of Christians, because we not only assail rashly the election of 
God, but we do not even believe his word, yet he by it has shown 
us their election. For when he includes us under Abraham's 
covenant this word makes us no less certain of their election 
than of the old Hebrews'. For the statement that they are in 
the covenant, testament and people of God assures us of their 
election until the Lord announces something different of some 
one. Therefore also that objection is stricken out : How then 
were we sure of Esau's election when the Lord says : Esau have 
I hated? For we follow the law throughout. But if the Lord 
does something out of the ordinary the law is not thereby abro- 
gated. For privileges do not make the law common. Though 
indeed it is my opinion that all infants who are under the testa- 
ment are doubtless of the elect by the laws of the testament. 
And when it is said : Where then do you put the infant Esau? 
Under the testament? But he was rejected. I respond two 
ways : ( i ) All judgment of ours about others is uncertain so far as 
we are concerned, but certain as regards God and his law. E. g. t 
when it is said to an apostle : I believe in Jesus Christ the Son 
of God, the apostle thinks him who says this of the elect because 
of the certitude of the word. But they sometimes deceive who 
thus confess, as did Simon Magus and the false brethren who 
came in secretly to betray the liberty of the gospel. But God 
himself is not deceived, nor does the law deceive, for God knows 
the hearts and reins, /. e., the inmost parts, and the law, if all is 
just and right, does also nol deceive, but is eternal. Therefore 
we ever judge according to the law, as has been said, and the 
law for the sake of one or many may not be considered the less 
universal. (2) The other reason is such as all may not receive, 
but to me it is sure. All of those infants who are within the 
elect, who die, are elect. And this is my reason, because when 
I find no unfaith in any one I have no reason to condemn him ; 


contrariwise, since I have the indubitable word of promise : They 
shall come and sit down with the God of Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob, I shall be impious if I eject them from the company of 
the people of God. What then of Esau if he had died as an in- 
fant? Would your judgment place him among the elect? Yes. 
Then does election remain sure? It does. And rejection re- 
mains also. But listen. If Esau had died an infant he would 
doubtless have been of the elect. For if he had died then there 
would have been the seal of election, for the Lord would not 
have rejected him eternally. But since he lived and was of the 
non-elect, he so lived that we see in the fruit of his unfaith that 
he was rejected by the Lord. All -our error arises from this, that 
while we hardly learn all even from the sequel we break in also 
upon providence. This disposes all, so that not only Esau, but 
not even a root in the sea, not a weed in the garden or a gnat 
in the air, lives or dies without it. But what kind of a vessel 
Esau was or why a gnat has so sharp a sting * we can hardly learn 
from what is done by them. Since then we learn from the dead 
mind of Esau that he was rejected of God, in vain do we say : 
Would that he had died an infant ! He could not die whom 
divine Providence had created that he might live, and live wick- 
edly. You see then, O man, that almost all our ignorance of 
Scripture arises from our ignorance of Providence. But I return 
to my subject. Manifest then from all that precedes are those 
two inferences. That those two sayings : Who believeth, etc., 
and Who believeth not, etc., are not a touch-stone by which we 
may measure the salvation of infants, and that we condemn im- 
piously not only the true children of Christians, but those of 
Gentiles. They alone are subject to our judgment of whom we 
have the word according to which we can judge. I think I have 
also satisfied those who say : If by election we come to God 
Christ is in vain. For this is election, that whom the Lord has 
destined to eternal salvation before the world was, he equally 

* " Tuba " means " trumpet; " can he mean the mosquito ? 


predestinated, before the world was, to be saved through his Son, 
as Paul teaches in Eph. i. 4. 

A second pair of inferences also follows. First, they teach 
incautiously who say that the baptism of infants can be tolerated 
through love, unless they mean that by love all things are done 
among Christians, and not by command and by force of law, just 
as Paul says : Owe no one aught, but to love one another. But 
if they receive love in the place of complaisance and indulgence, 
as when Paul through love sheared his hair and undertook a 
vow (for he did this by indulgence in which he spared the weak), 
now I think they err seriously who say that through love infants 
should be baptized. For what do they mean by this other than 
that now one may not omit for the sake of public peace what 
some time must be omitted when it is permitted? Let them 
therefore receive my opinion after considering the distinction of 
love which I premise. Few ceremonies have been left us by 
Christ two or three, baptism, the eucharist and the laying on of 
hands. The first belongs in general to all who are of Christ's 
church. The second to those only who can interrogate them- 
selves upon their certitude of faith. For the apostle says : Let a 
man prove himself. The third only to a few, those who superin- 
tend the ministry of the word. Now since these ceremonies have 
clear methods of performance they are improperly said to be 
done of love when they are done of precept, even though what- 
ever God commands is most pleasing to you because of your 
piety. So when it is said : Go and teach all nations, baptizing 
them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is 
here the form of law as much as in " Let every male be circum- 
cised." What the law orders cannot be ascribed to indulgence, 
but that is done of indulgence when at the celebration of the 
eucharist certain weak ones are spared, and would be so done if 
the habit of baptizing infants were being restored and certain 
weak ones were spared from being compelled to baptize infants 
after the custom and rite. This, I say, would be done of love. 


The eucharist therefore is not celebrated from love in this way, 
but it is stopped out of love by many. So it would be with 
baptism. I warn you here, dearest brethren, to weigh again and 
again my opinion, for some seem to wish to cover up with their 
astuteness of words the mouth of your simplicity. 

The second necessary inference of the second pair. Whether 
the Catabaptists or others receive or not my opinion on election, 
predestination, calling and faith which assuredly is not mine, 
but the apostle Paul's, nay, that of God himself, if you estimate 
carefully the providence of God still baptism is not at all to be 
denied infants on account of God's election or reprobation, for 
neither to Esau or any other who was rejected was circumcision 
denied. So I regard the whole Catabaptist argument as now 
overturned, and it is demonstrated that election is above baptism, 
circumcision, faith and preaching. 

That the Apostles Baptized Infants. 

In the foregoing I said that when Christ and the apostles 
referred to Scripture, they referred to none other than that of 
the law and the prophets. For not yet were the Gospels written 
or the apostolic epistles collected. But in this I would not speak 
as if I would take aught away from the canonical New Testament, 
since the books of the Old Testament also were not written at 
one time, and yet the authority of the later books is not less ; but 
I would show that Catabaptist writers are in error in this, that 
they suppose the apostles to have directed baptism in accordance 
with that writing that was not yet written. Nay, they order to 
be omitted what is verbally omitted in what was written afterward 
in accordance with the figurative scheme of the Hebrew tongue, 
but what is affirmed by the implications of speech. Meanwhile 
the thing itself warns otherwise, and the men who wrote the 
New Testament testify that they were not able to record all that 
Christ himself did and taught. I have undertaken to prove a 
hard thing then, the Catabaptists think, but it is easy if we give 


ear to the truth. I shall first employ argument and then testi- 
mony. But the arguments I draw from no source but Scripture 
itself, as follows : Every one knows how sharp was the contest 
among believers about circumcision, which contest is described 
in Acts xv. ; some contended that those must be circumcised 
who were not entered into Christ, others opposing. But when 
there had arisen a great strife the delegates from Antioch, the 
apostles, and the whole church guided by the divine Spirit de- 
creed that circumcision and all the externals of the law, a few 
exceptions being made in concession to the weak, should be 
abrogated. Here then I will ask the Catabaptists whether they 
believe the disciples were less solicitous about administering the 
baptismal rite than about circumcision? If they say that they 
were not solicitous, then the piety of the parents which has regard 
for the children as well as for themselves leads us to think other- 
wise. Since then a part were anxious that circumcision should 
not be omitted, a part that they might not confuse baptism, it 
appears that they were no less anxious for their children than for 
themselves, especially since in the beginning their infants had 
been circumcised. It cannot be then that if the apostles were 
unwilling to baptize the children there would not have arisen 
some disturbance. But nothing is said of this, so there was no 
disturbance. So because of believers' opinions children were 
baptized, and for this reason there is no distinct mention of it. 
But if they admit that parents were anxious about the baptism of 
their children, then they conquered and baptized them, for bap- 
tism conquered and remained when circumcision became anti- 
quated. For if consideration, strife and anxiety did arise, and 
yet the opinion of those who thought they ought to be baptized 
did not conquer, then circumcision would have been strength- 
ened and baptism weakened. And this argument pertains to 
conjectures and indications, yet it is drawn from Scripture. 

II. But the second argument is insuperable, gathered by com- 
parison of Scripture. Circumcision was abrogated by decree of 


the church gathered in the spirit. Infants were with their 
parents within the church. If then, according to the Catabaptists' 
opinion, those infants or little childien were not baptized, yet 
were circumcised, it follows that by a decree of the church 
children of Christians were cast out of the church and were 
remanded to the circumcision. For who is circumcised becomes 
a debtor to the whole law. And there is no reason why we should 
plead here that account must be taken of the time. For the 
strife about circumcising believers arose at Antioch, not at Jeru- 
salem, where it is agreed that either circumcision or baptism 

III. The third argument also is from conjecture that we 
should consider the race from which the first believers came. 
They were of a race that so clung to externals that the apostles, 
believed even after the resurrection that Christ would rule cor- 
poreally. It is not therefore likely that they left their children 
unbaptized. I leave the rest to you, reader, for much can be 
educed from these bases. 

IV. The fourth I have touched on in the foregoing, i. e., that 
Paul in j Cor. x. 1-2 makes us and the Hebrews equal. All, 
he says, were baptized, all ate the same spiritual bread, and 
since all their children were baptized in the sea and the cloud 
they would not be equal if our children were not baptized, as has 
been said. But here the Catabaptists chatter out : If they ate 
the same spiritual bread, therefore our children will also celebrate 
the eucharist. This has no weight, for by synecdoche to each 
part its own property is attributed. But since we have a precept 
for the celebration of the eucharist : Let each man prove himself, 
and boys are not competent for this, while they are for baptism 
and circumcision, it is clear that with Paul infant baptism was in 
use, but not infant eucharist. Here also is answered the objec- 
tion they draw from Col. ii. n, that children cannot be circum- 
cised with the circumcision not made with hands nor lay aside 
the body of sin, therefore baptism did not come in the place of 



circumcision, since circumcision is external and corporeal, but 
this is internal and spiritual. For we learn here that Paul 
attributed our externals to the Hebrews, though they had the 
internals alone, but the externals not in the same form but 
differently. No one denies that they ate spiritual bread just as 
we, for they, like we, were saved through him who was to come. 
But they did not carry around the bread and wine in the supper, 
but used other externals in place of these, manna and water from 
tfae rock. Do you see how by analogy he makes the externals 
equivalents? The internals were the same, the externals differ- 
ent. So he attributes to them that internal baptism, so that they 
as well as we were cleansed through Christ : external baptism he 
expresses by the analogy of the sea and the cloud, but to us he 
attributes internal circumcision, for we are under the same cove- 
nant with them and are renewed by the same Spirit, and by it 
are circumcised. That is, he is speaking by synecdoche in 
accordance with the age of each class. But he found no other 
external than baptism, for what cause would there be for making 
a comparison analogically between baptism and circumcision, 
when without that he could have spoken of the spirit being 
renewed, unless he had wished in the same way to make equal 
the internals as well as the externals, as he did in i Cor. x. i ? 
It must be therefore that Paul entertained this opinion, that our 
circumcision is baptism ; this he would never have held unless 
he had seen at that time the children of Christians baptized as 
he had formerly seen them circumcised. 

V. Not only three, as above, but many families were baptized 
by the apostles, in which it is more likely than not that there 
were infants. This, too, pertains to probability, about which 
enough has been said above. 

Now we come to testimony. You will put together here, good 
reader, whatever has been said of one and the same testament, 
people and Saviour. And you will at the same time consider 
here that in the apostles' time no one used any Scripture but the 


Old Testament, nay, Christ himself used no other, and what 
controversy arose about baptism would have to be settled by its 
authority; but since this not even leads us to think an\ thing but 
that baptism, the sign of the covenant, must be given to infants 
equally with circumcision, there could have been no hesitation 
with the apostles in approving the baptism of infants. 

Origen on Romans, book v., thus testifies : " The church received 
from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants." * 
Augustine asserts the same in his book on the baptism of infants 
dedicated to Marcellinus.f I do not adduce these in this place 
to give them the authority of Scripture, but on account of faith 
in history (for Origen flourished about 150 years after the 
ascension of Christ), that we may not ignore the antiquity of 
infant baptism, and at the same time that we may attain to cer- 
tainty that beyond all controversy the apostles baptized infants. 
So the Catabaptists do nothing at all different from the false 
apostles in former tmes, of whom Paul thus speaks : They order 
you to be circumcised for this only, that they may glory in your 
flesh. So these men glory in mobs and their seditious, or rather 
heretical, church. For I assert truly that in our time no dogma, 
however unheard of, can so rightly be called heresy as this sect's, 
for they have separated themselves from the churches of believers, 
they have rebaptized, and have their own assemblages. Now I 
lay my hand to the appendix. 


Though I ever expend most liberally what little talent the 
Lord has given me, I am compelled to restrain my hand in the 
appendix, not out of niggardliness, but because you are already 
wearied, good reader, of so great prolixity, and because I am 

* Book v., chap. ix. 

t A treatise on the merits and forgiveness of sins, and on the baptism of in- 
fants, Migne, x., col. 109 sqq. Eng. trans. Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers, v., 15-200. 


compelled to yield to the importunity of the Fair that presses.* 
With the help of God then I will refute the foolish, impious and 
absurd arguments advanced by the Catabaptists, a few passages 
of Scripture being adduced, but such as that whole crowd cannot 

I. The Catabaptists teach that the dead sleep, both body and 
soul, until the day of judgment, because they do not know that 
" sleeping " is used by the Hebrews for " dying." Then they 
do not consider that the soul is a spirit, which, so far from 
being able to sleep or die, is nothing but the animating principle 
of all that breathes, whether that gross and sensation-possessing 
spirit that quickens and raises up the body, or that celestial spirit 
that sojourns in the body. That celestial spirit then that we call 
soul the Greeks call entelecheia [/. e., actuality] ; this is so lively, 
enduring, strong, tenacious and vigilant a substance that its nature 
forbids the absence of action or existence. Its nature is incessant 
action or motion. So that it can as little sleep as the light or the 
sun can be an obscure body. Wherever you drive the sun it glows 
and kindles, as Phaethon experienced.! So the soul, no matter 
whither you drive it, animates, moves and impels, so that even 
when united firmly to the body, which itself under its own inertia 
sleeps, yet the soul sleeps not. For we recall what we have seen 
in sleep. Much more when freed from the body is it incapable 
of sleep, since it is a substance suited for continuous activity, 
incapable of weariness. So the body sleeps, the soul never, but 
when it is freed from the body this last sleeps the eternal night 
Finally the Catabaptists are ignorant that by the Hebrews the 
resurrection of the dead is not always received of the supreme 
resurrection of the flesh, which we shall some time see ; sometimes 
it means this, sometimes that, continuance and existence of mind, 

* Allusion to the Frankfort (on the Main) Autumnal Fair, which was the 
great book mart at that time; the date of this treatise being July 31, 1527. 

t He ventured to drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens, and came 
so near the earth that he almost set it on fire ! 


by which, freed from the body, it persists and exists in life, 
oppressed neither by sleep nor death, for it cannot be so 

In Josh. vii. 12 the Lord says : The children of Israel could not 
stand (surgo) before their enemies, and a little after [verse 13] : 
Thou canst not stand before thy enemies. Here in both places to 
rise is put for to stand fast and steady. For Jerome also translates 
" to stand." In Matt. xxii. 31 Christ says : Touching the resur- 
rection of the dead have ye not read that which was spoken unto 
you by God, saying : I am the God of Abraham, the God of 
Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, 
but of the living. By which reply he taught nothing else but that 
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living, though dead. Of whom 
the Sadducees either denied the resurrection, i. e., living, or at 
least, after Catabaptist fashion, asserted that they [the dead] 
slept. For Christ's reply referred not to the resurrection of the 
flesh, but to the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived, 
though dead. So Paul speaks in Heb. xi. 35 : But others were 
tortured (or crucified), not accepting deliverance, that they might 
obtain a better resurrection. Notice here how resurrection is 
used for the life of souls, which they are to have when released 
from the body. In this sense they so embraced the life that 
follows this that they would not accept the present life even when 
it was offered. So firm was their faith that they were sure the 
life that followed would be better. Whence also the saying of 
Christ in John vi. 40 : I will raise him up at the last day, ought 
not to be distorted to any sense other than : " I will preserve 
him in life when he dies who trusts in me." So he either implies 

The theory here rejected is known as " Psychopannychia," the doctrine of 
the sleep of the soul. It received very elaborate refutation from the youthful 
Calvin : Psychopannychia, qua refellitur quorundam imperitorum error, qui 
animas post mortem usque ad ultimum judicium dormire pulant. Libellus 
ante septem annos compositus, nunc tamen primum in lucent aeditus. Re- 
printed in Calvini Opera, ed. Baum et al., v., col. 165-232; Eng. trans., Cal- 
vin's Tracts, vol. iii., 413-490. 


that they who trust him will never die or will ever live most 
joyously. For that " last day " here is not so much that final 
day of all things of the present world as the final day of each 
when he leaves this world. This is easily understood from John 
v. 24 : He cometh not into judgment, but hath passed from 
death unto life. In i Cor. xv. the apostle, speaking of the resur- 
rection, makes this which is understood as continuance or per- 
sistence in life, so to speak superior, of which he speaks in 
general, until he comes to the passage : How do the dead rise, 
or with what body do they come? There finally he reaches the 
discussion of that resurrection of the flesh which is to come at 
length. Do you, reader, that you may see that I assert nothing 
rashly, come to this passage, dismissing the rest. Notice how 
" From man came death, and from man the resurrection from 
the dead, for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all are made alive," 
pertains not only to the resurrection of the flesh, but to that life 
which follows this at once. For through Adam we die, but 
through Christ we are preserved in life. For he says : He who 
believeth in me shall live even though he die. Then consider 
what follows : Else what shall they do who are baptized for the 
dead if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized 
for the dead? You see the ancients had a custom of baptizing 
themselves in behalf of the dead, not that this is approved by 
Paul or us (it was a foolish thing which followed the faithful out 
of unbelief even unto belief, for some things cling which per- 
versely have the appearance of piety, especially toward parents 
and relatives). But the apostle acutely employed the foolish 
abuse of bapitism which in my judgment was nothing else than 
the sprinkling with lustral water the graves of their dead, as 
some do to-day against those who denied that the soul lived 
after it left the body until it was raised for judgment. And he 
thus catches them : If then the soul sleeps, why do you, too, 
moisten with lustral water the graves of the dead? What benefit 
do you do those who do not live, but are either nothing or 


asleep? You may note here in passing, reader, that this argu- 
ment is used partly in behalf of infant baptism. For if they 
supposed that with baptismal or lustral water they accomplished 
something for the dead, much less would they refuse it to children. 
For they would do this according to the Lord's word, for that 
they would have no document. Third, consider this, which he 
adds: And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I die daily, 
etc. For this, too, tends hither. Paul means : If either no life 
follows this, or a sleep more than Epimenidean,* I should be 
foolish to undergo every danger daily. But it is very different. 
Eternal life follows this immediately, for otherwise I would not 
expose myself rashly to dangers of this kind. Fourth, he says : 
Let us eat, etc., and even " Perverse communications corrupt 
good manners " points this way. For nothing equally corrupts 
manners with teaching that the soul dies, or, as the Catabaptists 
now blaspheme, sleeps till the last day, and then they affirm that 
the devil and all are saved. What penalty then awaits the faith- 
less and criminal? This corruption would not spread so widely 
if they only denied that the flesh would live again. Fifth, 
consider this, too : Eknepsate dikaios, /. e., be vigilant. These 
words reflect Paul's keenness. For when they, pressed in the sleep 
of ignorance, suppose (like the wolf which believes that all ani- 
mals eat raw flesh because it does so itself) that souls sleep, he 
says therefore wake up. And when because of their keenness 
these little scholars seem to themselves by no means to sleep, he 
rightly says wake up. For you think that you are awake and 
have hit the nail on the head when you are dreaming so som- 
nolently about sleep. After this weigh carefully the following, 
reader, and when you see that the apostle at first is speaking in 
general about the life of the soul after this life, and thence comes 
to the resurrection of the flesh, return to this and you will see 
that the Catabaptists are oppressed not so much by sleep as by 
evil, and teach whatever occurs to them. 

* According to the tale Epimenides slept fifty-seven years. 


II. The Catabaptiste teach this, too, that the devil and all 
impious will be blessed. Why then do they threaten us with 
eternal damnation unless we join them? See how consistent 
is their teaching ! When we die we shall sleep till the ''ast day, 
then we shall be cleared in the judgment. So the lower world 
is done away with, and Gehenna, and the inextinguishable fire, 
and the flames which devour the tares gathered into bundles. 
But they have learned that D^T^J, *' e-, the Hebrew word mean- 
ing forever, does not mean interminable duration. Here they 
do just as they do everywhere. When they have learned one 
thing, what they either are ignorant of or will not see they turn 
aside and reject. Let them therefore take Luke i. 33 : He shall 
reign over the house of Jacob forever. Is this forever used for 
some ages? Another witness is Matt. xxv. 41 : Depart from me, 
ye cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 
Tell me here, when will that fire have an end if eternal is always 
a definite time? How many ages, I ask, will there be when this 
age shall be finished ? So that you are able to say how long that 
fire will endure before it is extinguished. But why do I ask, as 
if you said anything but what is most vain ! And so do you, O 
reader, listen : In that last judgment, after which there shall be 
no other, after which there shall be no age but sheer eternity, 
Christ will say : Depart hence from me into eternal fire. What 
end will that have that can find no end? For if that " eternal " 
were temporary, as it cannot be, for then all time ceases, then 
the salvation of the blessed would be temporary. But the foolish 
talk foolishness. 

III. Catabaptists assume to themselves all, the office of preach- 
ing, and of others who are legitimately set apart by Christian 
churches they inquire, Who elected you? For they are not sent 
even by their evil church. But here they do not regard Scrip- 
ture. It has no force. We do not read that any of the true 
apostles assumed to himself the ministry of the word. So no 
One ought to assume it to himself. When Paul asks : How shall 


they preach unless they are sent? let him hear, Catabaptists. 
By what authority, pray? That of the father of lies and strife. 

IV. Wherever it suits, the Catabaptists deny Scripture and 
assert their own spirit. But we know that Scriptures are to be 
interpreted by the spirit, but not by that contentious and rash 
spirit which the Catabaptists excite, rather by the true, eternal, 
peaceful and self-consistent spirit. We know also that Christ 
appealed to Scripture, who yet gave by sign and teaching suffi- 
cient proof whether he spoke from God, so that neither a Cata- 
baptist nor any other should dare to demand credence for himself 
when he speaks without Scripture authority. So that very won- 
derful is the effrontery with which they dare to demand Scripture 
proof for infant baptism, rather from non-Scripture. For they 
have nothing by which they may trust in Scripture, but only a 
negative basis alone when they say : We do not read that the 
apostles baptized infants, therefore they should not be baptized. 
They ward off all Scripture by the boss of an asserted spirit. Spurn 
not prophecy, they say, and do not extinguish the spirit. Right 
enough ! But what is added ? Prove all things. We shall then 
prove the spirit, for the divine John warns not to trust every 
spirit, but to prove them whether they are of God. You deny 
that Christ is by nature the Son of God, the propitiation for the 
sins of all the world. Your spirit is then not of God by John's 
test. So we spurn your prophecy no otherwise than as when Saul 
put himself into the company of prophets. You extinguish the 
spirit by your rebaptism. Why not, when it is so often sub- 
merged? For it is not that spirit which at the foundation of 
the world brooded over the waters, but that which hurled itself 
into swine with the great damage of the neighbors, itself doubtless 
swimming out and leaving those amid the swamps of Gennesaret 
who ought to have solaced the winter of the poor. Attend to 
the allegory. 



I doubt not, most pious reader, that you have long missed in 
us that direction of Paul : Bear with one another in love, endeav- 
oring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. But 
for your missing it, we who are on the side of true baptism are 
not in fault. For nothing grieves us so much as their audacity. 
For though, as the apostle continues, we are one body and one 
soul or spirit, in that we are called to one and the same hope, 
they are unwilling to hear the apostle's warning. For secretly 
they have taught what is not right, doubtless not knowing " One 
Lord, one faith, one baptism." So it is not strange that they 
have left us, since they who do not see those things are not of 
us. It is yours meanwhile to advance in the fear of the Lord, 
and to guard yourself from the hypocrisy of evil men. Farewell, 
and pray for the victory for truth. I turn to the " Disputation at 
Baden," which everybody says has been distorted intentionally by 
the printers, but which I have not yet had time to read, so that 
if it requires refutation at my hands I may give it.* Be assured 
that all this when it was printing was snatched from the jaws of 
the pen. 

* Baden is a town only 12 miles northwest of Zurich, but such a centre of 
the bitterest foes of Zwingli that he did not venture to go thither to attend 
the Disputation. It was the Old Church's reply to the Zurich Disputation of 
1523, and lasted from May 2istto June i8th, 1526. The Acts were published 
at Luzem, May 18,1527. 








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